Top Things To Do In London

When it comes to traveling, i will definitely say i am a planner, where i will always have a rough idea of the things i want to see and do (i carry both a mental list and a written list, for the perfectionist that i am). And revisiting a place i been before such as a vibrant city like London, makes no exception either. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not those freaks who sticks to every single detail of a plan, and depending on my mood and the weather, i sometimes do enjoy those laid back moments where i just go with the flow, realizing the unknown is just as fun.

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My trip to London back in December didn’t involve too much planning as my friend that came with me was a laid back traveler so it was perfect for me, considering how many times i have been to London. But i definitely had a mental list of things to do with my friend and i’ve decided to compile a list of top things to do in London, in case you shall ever visit this lovely city. Hope you guys enjoy these tips.

Piccadilly Circus is definitely a place to visit in London. It’s in the center of London, and you really get a feel of the buzz and hype that this metropolitan city has to offer. There are loads of shops if you are into shopping, whether its high end or low end fashion, or restaurants and cafes to visit if you ever fancy a cup of coffee or experience a proper afternoon tea, the British style.

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One of the afternoon tea places that i really wanted to try was Fortnum & Mason, which i learned about from the fabulous and lovely British blogger, Milla. Although i didn’t get to try their afternoon tea, the shop itself was enough to impress me. The entire shop was filled with lovely packaging of their food and tea products everywhere, but displayed in moderation. The signature color of their products are in this lovely turquoise color, but i was also very much attracted to these purple tined Earl grey biscuits that i spotted minutes within walking in there, and of course i had to buy them. I ended up buying loads of their teas, such as the green tea flavored Elder flower tea, Earl Grey, and English breakfast. I wanted to try their macarons, being the macaron fan that i am, but i guess i was too overwhelmed by all the things inside Fortnum & Mason that i completely forgot to try some.

Ever since i spotted these alphabet mugs from other bloggers, which are available in Anthropologie, i made an immediately pit stop to their store in London. Lucky, i didn’t even have to buy it that day because my sweetest sister had already bought it for me as part of my Christmas gift, after she heard me talk about it for like ever and ever.

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An afternoon tea session is a must if you visit London, a city that is well known to serve the best scones ever. I decided to pay a visit at Sketch, which i’ve not tried before yet heard good reviews of it from other British bloggers. The entrance of Sketch was very mysterious, where you are guided through this dark hall upon entering the lobby.

The interior and ambiance inside was very relaxing and with a lot of wooden and green color incorporated into its design. One of the things that really got me attention was this giant chandelier that hung in the middle of the ceiling, where it had these wooden branches look alike branching out. My friends and i ordered two sets of the afternoon tea and we did not finish it. The thing with afternoon tea is that the food are bite sizes but the fullness slowly creeps up on you. The savory and sweet dishes were both delish but up to this day, i still haven’t tried an afternoon tea place that has blown me away. One thing for sure was that their sea salt caramel and pistachio flavored macarons were yummy!

Another interesting thing about Sketch is their wash room. I know, you would think what? Upon entering the washroom, you will see these individual oval shaped toilet cubicles. The  colorful neon ceiling also gave it a very out of space feel to it, and it definitely gave it a whole new meaning and experience for washrooms.

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It’s also great fun to experience London by night. The night time of the city with the beautiful lights lit up is a breath taking view for sure. Regent Street is an area that i would recommend visiting, where they always display these beautiful Christmas lights during the festive season. A night out with my girls was definitely on the list, and what better way to celebrate than going to Aqua at the Shard, and enjoying a glass of wine while admiring the night view from the 32nd floor. The Shard also claims to be the tallest building in  the EU (according to Wikipedia), which gives you  another reason to pop by this place.

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For those that are more on the arty side and like some entertainment, make sure to leave a day out to watch a musical. Cheap tickets can be purchased at ticketing booths in London as well, and i often go to the one in Leicester Square, near China Town. I remember watching Phantom of the Opera in London before and it was the best musical ever. Although no other musicals have topped Phantom of the Opera on my list, i decided to give Wicked a chance, and it didn’t disappoint. The music was great, where the costumes and stage settings were gorgeous. Due to the heavy rain fall and strong winds, my friend and i decided last minute to go One Canada Square bar (located at Canary Wharf) to enjoy some wine and cocktail before we called it a night. Since Canary Wharf is a central business district, it was no surprise that the entire bar was filled with men in business suits but since it was the closes bar to our home, it was the perfect spot. I would only recommend going to this bar if you are within this area, otherwise there is nothing special about it. Although we were served by a very friendly Italian waiter so that is a bonus. Good customer service is always appreciated!

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Last but no least, it’s also fun to visit museums to learn some history and better understand a place, from a different perspective. So a trip to the British Museum was arranged, and with its free admission fee and the sun shining, we headed out earlier that morning, in an attempt to make the most out of our last day in London.

If you are into markets, you should not miss out on Covent Garden. It’s a market that sells a lot of delicious food, desserts, art, clothes, and other nick nacks. I visit this market whenever i’m in London. One of my fave things to do is eating their Belgian waffles with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, as i sit in the center of the market and enjoy a bit of my people watching moment.

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securedownload-35Photo source: all photos by me

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Design & Decor: stylish coffee table

If you are looking to make your living room look more stylish, look no further than these stylish transparent coffee tables. For one thing, it definitely makes a statement and can complete a room when done correctly. It’s a simple design yet such an important element in a living space. You can choose between glass or acrylic coffee tables, with frames or no frames, the varieties are endless.

My favorite is the glass coffee tables with golden frames, as it gives this contemporary look to it while still carrying some interesting details  to the design, with a touch of gold in color. Another stylish method that i like and have noticed in a lot of interior design blogs and magazines, are the way these transparent coffee tables are styled. The usual accessories to be seen on the transparent coffee tables include but not limited to things such as stacks of books and magazines, candles, colorful printed jewelry bowls, and other ornaments.

This is a very smart way of decorating a transparent coffee table, where you are not only seeing pretty things within close eye sight but the items are of personal usage as well, such as lighting that candle light on a cosy night in, stacking all your business cards or other important name cards in that cute polka dot bowl, or reading some magazines during a lazy Sunday afternoon, while enjoying brunch at home. A bi – functional way of using a transparent coffee table, now what is there not to like?

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6780753fa6488aaae18abd418857c522Photo source: Pinterest

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February Love 2014

20140301-165507.jpgBeautiful and colorful flowers blossoming as we welcome the Chinese New Year. Putting on my very first Dior perfume, Forever and Ever Dior, as gifted from a special friend during my visit to Denmark during Christmas. Invitation by a friend to try out this new Spanish restaurant, Zafran, where her bf was recruited as the executive chef there recently. All the tapas dishes were divine and displayed like a piece of art. The mushroom and ham croquetas was amongst one of my favorites.

BFF being ever as sweet and got me my fave macarons from Paul Lafayet for Valentines Day. Savoring my macarons whilst wearing my feminine Tocca perfume and flashing my fluffy heart fur shaped key ring to feel extra lovely. Admiring my cute Russian doll, a gift from a friend during her business trip to Harbin, and deciding where this beauty should stand in my room. Enjoying my pink guava and cranberry gelato with a friend in town visiting, as we slowly walked the Victoria harbor and admired the night view of Hong Kong.

Celebrating BFF’s birthday with a dinner surprise at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, as I patiently waited for the birthday girl at the lobby. Having a much needed “me time” and ending a Friday night with some froyo at Yomama and purchased the Glamour 75th anniversary issue for March, on the way home. Reuniting with my darling after our Euro trip, which calls for cocktail time at Lilys and Bloom. I absolutely loved my Chester’s Cup cocktail, and it contains one of my recent favorite ingredients, elderflower!

I am blessed for each and everyday that was filled with love, fun, laughters, and sharing special moments with people I love and care for. You are my February Love 2014.

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Winter holiday in London…

After 12 grueling hours on the plane, flying from Hong Kong all the way to London, i was glad to had finally arrived to London Heathrow airport. My friend had decided to tag along with me to celebrate Christmas with my family and i was more than delighted to have an extra company to share this festive season with. As my sister and her boyfriend picked us up from the airport, i was more than happy to have a personal driver to take us home as oppose to taking the ridiculously over priced taxi in London. It would be last thing i needed after a long haul flight.

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Every time i visit London, i get this sense of familiarity and home that takes over me, where this city acts like a constant reminder of the fun times I had here during my university days. However, as i walked through  Canary Wharf, a Central Business District, which i used to live near by and frequent a lot, appeared to have gone through some changes over the years. There were a lot more tall sky scrapers than i could remember from the last time i visited. It also appeared that many hip restaurants and cafes had surfaced around Canary Wharf.

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For old times sake, my sister decided to take us out to lunch in Canary Wharf at this relatively newly opened restaurant, by the name of Tom’s Kitchen. I ordered the sirloin beef with roasted potatoes and water cress in red wine sauce, along with their renowned British Yorkshire pudding. The dish was simple yet amazing, where the beef was juicy and tender and not too big in proportion, and the Yorkshire pudding was warm and soft. I have to admit, there was nothing special about the potatoes but it went really well with the steak. The ambiance was contemporary with high ceiling and a lot of wooden  and white tiles to its interior decor, which is a westernized decor style that i am very fond of.  The customer service was impeccable as well, with the staffs coming back every now and then in the right consistency to see if we were alright. It is definitely a place that i would go back again for a chilled lunch with my girls on a weekend.

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As i had a friend visiting this time, I knew it would be mandatory to take her to the usual tourist attractions and despite seeing it a million times before, i never get tired of this beautiful city. All of the architectural buildings and history just never fails to impress me.

It was a cold and rainy day, and after a much satisfied meal at Tom’s Kitchen, we headed to Tower Bridge. Along the way, we spotted the Shard Building, which i have been told that its the tallest building in the EU, which is quite impressive.  Yet the Tower Bridge is always the winner in my book and it always takes my breath away no matter during day time or night time, its just one of those beauty that you can’t stop admiring, and the whole majestic vibe that it holds.

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After taking like a gazillion photos of the Tower Bridge in every angle that you could possible take, it was starting to get dark and so we headed to our next destination, the Big Ben and the House of Parliament.

As we got off Westminster station on the underground, we were greeted by drizzles of rain. We decided to not let the weather spoil the mood for us, especially after we surfaced from the underground and looked upon the beautiful view of the Big Ben set against the giant Underground signage (first picture shown above in this post). We opened our umbrellas and leisurely walked along the bridge as we took a moment to enjoy the night view of the Big Ben and the House of Parliament. I still remember my graduation being held at this venue in 2005, and it seems like only yesterday. That day was such a special day for me where my families were there to witness my big day, and it was nice to see this scenery again, 8 years later.

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As i walked along the bridge and got closer to the oh so familiar view of the London Eye, my sister told my friend and i to keep walking along the London Eye until we reach the end of the road and then turn back. And we did exactly that. What I saw was the beautiful London Eye in full view, where it was glowing in blue lights, and there were rows and rows of trees in front of it also shining in blue lights in unison. It was one of those magical moments that i wished to have an other half whom i could share this moment with, but my sister and friend was just as good company during that very moment.

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As the night unfolded, and our feet being tired as ever from walking the whole day, we decided to stop by a local cafe, Le Pain Quotidien, nearby Waterloo station. We walked into Le Pain Quotidien, where the smell of fresh bakeries and our body warming up to the central heating was more than inviting to us. We quickly got a seat and started looking a the menu. I took no hesitation and decided to go for my all time fave carrot cake and my friend went for the Lemon tart. Coffee and tea, and an elderflower drink were ordered as we slowly savored our desserts and relaxed. Not long after, i had arranged for dinner with an old friend that i’ve known years back from university. Due to lack of time ,we were only able to meet briefly and grab some local food in a British pub. Those short but sweet 2 hours of catching up over good old British food, which consisted of Bangers and mash, and Fish and Chips, were priceless. We laughed into the night as we shared good old memories and spoke of the present and future. As the clock stroked 9 o’clock at night, it was time to bid our farewells and hugged each other tightly, knowing we would meet again very soon. It was a bittersweet moment and just like that, my second night in London ended…

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Design & Decor: black and white

There is something about the Scandinavian contemporary interior design that always gets to me.  I’m not sure if it’s due to the fact that i was born in Denmark and got influenced by its culture or what, but something about the whole clean and simple look always manage to capture my heart.

One of the contemporary interior design style that i’ve fallen head over heels for as of late, is the black and white look. It oozes simplicity yet stylish and chic. I like the idea of living in a space that is organized with easy access to the daily necessities or leisure needs, such as candles in the living room for those nights that i feel like reading a book instead of watching TV.  And i believe that with a clean space comes a clear mind, which is what we all need at times,  in this hectic lifestyle that we live in. This black and white interior design style will definitely be an inspiration board for my future home. What about you?

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Chinese New Year 2014

Every time during the early months of the year, i always look forward to the festive Chinese New Year, where celebrations are in full swing. Chinese decorations and colorful flowers are seen everywhere, from the streets, shopping malls, offices, and homes. Red represents good luck and gold represents good wealth so these two colors will always be strongly visible during this time of the year.

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It’s been a tradition since I was in high school, where my family and i will go back to our village in Shenzhen, China to spend 2 or 3 days there, just visiting relatives and experience the festive Chinese New Year spirits. There are firecrackers heard in the day time and night time in our village to celebrate the new year, and kids are running around everywhere as schools are closed during Chinese New Year. Plenty of luxurious food such as Chinese style roasted pork, chicken, seafood including shrimps, oysters, scallops, and fish, are served to the family to represent wealth and a prosperous year ahead. My favorite is always the candy box where you serve this box to families and friends whenever they come over to visit, and you welcome them with Chinese candies or other snacks such as pistachios, nuts, and etc.

There’s also a dragon dance in our village during the early morning on the first day of the Chinese New Year, and i woke up just in time to witness it this time. The dragon is actually supported by people who are holding it from underneath in order maneuver the dragon, and i’ve been told that it’s quite a tough job. The dragon also has to do one entire lap around the entire village, which takes around 45 mins to 1 hour.

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My mom like every year, will always decorate our home with colorful flowers to welcome the new year and i never get tired of taking photos of these gorgeous flowers. This year was no exception, and here are some photos that i took over the Chinese New Year.

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This year my family and i decided to be experimental so we took the Shenzhen Metro and headed to our destination, the Houhai station. It took around 45 mins to get there from where we live and i thought that was pretty far but it fun to explore something new. We took the escalators up from the Shenzhen metro and upon arriving to the surface, i felt the warm sun beaming on my face, and the sky was light blue with some fluffy clouds floating around. It was the perfect weather to be out and as we were about to walk through this white tunnel passage way, that had Chinese lanterns hanging from it, i couldn’t help but notice how lovely the skies looked against the white tunnel passage way. As we walked through the tunnel, there was this big spacious area that was filled with cafes, bars, and some benches for public usage. I instantly felt like i was in Europe and they even had Costa cafe, one of the cafes that i would frequent when i lived in London!

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I was quite taken by surprise to see how westernized this area looked and shortly after, i quickly followed my parents as we went inside a shopping mall to try this lunch buffet that my mom had tried before. As expected, the food wasn’t that good and i didn’t even bother taking photos of the food. However, the restaurant itself was beautifully decorated with Chinese lanterns and flowers, and it had such a festive vibe to it.

The day ended with some window shopping and then we had to return to the village as other relatives were on their way to wish us a happy Chinese New Year. And not long after that, i took the train back home by myself to Hong Kong, which i had dearly missed…

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IMG_3193Photo credits: all photos by me

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Happy Valentines Day

It is that time of the year again. Valentines Day. That time where the expression of love is stronger than ever. Everywhere i go, there are couples to my left and right, where all the gestures of Valentines is clearly visible. The sweet sight of hugs, giggles, and smiles being exchanged, and roses being handed to their other half as they plant a tender kiss on those soft lips, of whom shall be their one and only Valentine. As a singleton myself, it is this day where i am reminded that there is still true love out there for everyone. It is only a matter of when and where. And i always believe that if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.

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And as i witness couples walking hand in hand, i smile to myself knowing i’ll be reuniting with my girlfriends for some fun time tonight. It’s a Valentines night for my single ladies who will be enjoying some delicious Japanese food, exotic cocktails, and scrumptious chocolate chip  cookie with vanilla ice cream. The night is still young as they say…

May you all have a happy Valentines day no matter who you spend it with!

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Photo credits: weheartit

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