Sunday, 31 May 2015

The London Series Part Three: Kensington, The V & A and The Berkeley...

Hello lovelies!

I hope you've been enjoying reading all about what we got up to on our recent trip to London. If you missed them, you can read part one here and part two here. We crammed a LOT into our second day so this post is going to be a bit of an overview of what we did, but I plan to do more detailed posts on Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty and our amazing Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley, in case you might want to visit and try them out for yourselves.

So let's start our early Sunday morning rise with some OOTD's shall we? Why not!

 I went for my trusty Topshop swing dress and Natalie's black Westwood flats...
...Natalie chose her stunning Primark dress and my navy Vivienne Westwood flats (shoe swap special!)

We'd booked for McQueen at 1030, so we decided to head to South Kensington bright and early to treat ourselves to a delicious breakfast. When I visit London I always try to eat at places that I wouldn't normally get the chance to go to at home, so we left with high hopes of eggs Benedict or pancakes or a nice continental breakfast to fill us until our afternoon tea later in the day. Our amazing find of Le Pain Quotidien did not disappoint! Situated on Exhibition Road in Kensington, this little Belgian beauty meaning 'the daily bread' was just what the doctor ordered.  A converted library, the interior is both rustic and quirky and the food is absolutely unbelievable.  We both went for dippy eggs and soldiers AND almond croissants because that's how we roll in London!  I had a coffee whereas my VBF opted for the cutest hot chocolate in a bowl-shaped mug!  The weather was pretty rubbish so the hot drinks helped to warm our souls and get us ready for the rest of the day ahead!

After settling our bill, we headed to the beautiful V & A for the Savage Beauty exhibition.  As I said before, I'm going to dedicate a whole post to the exhibition as I love to wax lyrical about fashion (and it was one of the best things I've ever seen in my life!) but the V & A itself has the most beautiful architecture so I thought it was definitely worth a mention here.  Walking into the entrance, I was blown away by the breathtaking structure and the blown glass 'All of this belongs to you' abstract art hanging from the ceiling in honour of our recent general election.  Even the tiled floor was eye-catching and we couldn't resist taking some #fromwhereistand shots!  After we visited Savage Beauty (and the gift shop!) we also poked our noses into the cafe (note the beautiful globe like chandeliers) and headed in to the stunning courtyard just to admire more of the building's beauty.

Wandering around Kensington before heading to Knightsbridge, we couldn't help but notice the beautiful houses of Cromwell Gardens and Thurloe Square, secretly wishing we could own one or at least live there for a month whilst living the London friend life goals just got serious! A girl can dream right? If you're reading this and you live there, I applaud you :)

Heading into Knightsbridge after our spot of daydreaming, we wandered around Harvey Nichols taking in Chanel, Victoria Beckham and the like.  There's nothing I love more than admiring high end fashion, and it's always amazing to be sharing the same breathing space as Chanel!

Finally it was time for our Pret-a-Portea, the highlight of day and the moment we'd been planning for months, and it was worth every mouthful! It was such a wonderful experience that I'm going to dedicate a whole post to it, but here's a sneaky preview of the cakes...

Sadly after our tea, we had to head back to King's Cross to catch our train home to finish what I'll always remember as one of the most fun and fancy weekends I've ever had.  I'm so lucky to have such an amazing best friend to make these memories with, so if you're reading, love you bestie!

I'll be back later in the week with a detailed post of both Savage Beauty and The Berkeley...ooh and to show you what I bought, but until then, thanks for reading!



Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The London Series Part Two: An Evening at Balthazar...

Hello lovelies!

The time has come for part two of my London series and it's all about an amazing evening meal in Covent Garden.  Here's what we wore...

I wore the following: Jacket: H 'n' M (old), Top: Primark (sale!), Skirt: Miss Selfridge, Shoes: French Connection, Bag: Vivienne Westwood, Necklace: H 'n' M

We chose to eat at Balthazar because Natalie had eaten there before and highly recommended it and because it's always nice to try somewhere a bit special when you're visiting the city.  Balthazar is nothing like anything I've ever seen before; it is amazing!  I've never been to New York but if I had to create a New York restaurant it would look exactly like Balthazar.  Picture the scene; neutral walls, low-lighting, an amazing black and cream tiled floor, a cocktail bartender from Boston, everything about this place screams New York so it's not surprising that that's where the original restaurant is situated.  For us it was like stepping straight into the Big Apple from pretty Covent Garden; like a porthole to another world!

I have to confess I didn't really have my blogging head on and it was far too busy for me to be swanning around the interior, camera in hand.  Apologies in advance that my photos are quite dark, but the sight of the food and drink to come should still definitely melt your tastebuds!

The interior may be American, but the food most certainly isn't.  The menu transports you to Paris, or an evening meal along the French Riviera.  I love French food so I was really spoiled for choice!

Menu to die for!

Luckily, choosing a drink wasn't such a difficult task.  Certain that I wanted a nice refreshing cocktail, I chose a Gin Fizz which was strong but delicious!  Don't be put off if your favourite isn't on the menu though, the bartender will mix you just about anything.  Natalie did just that and ordered a Mojito (I sampled it and it's one of the best I've ever tasted!) and of course we also had some water for the table!

Certain that we were going to plump for dessert rather than a starter, we finally made up our minds and both ordered fish.  Natalie chose the grilled fillet of salmon whereas I went for the smoked haddock Monte Carlo, then we sat back and soaked up the atmosphere whilst waiting for our food to arrive.

First, we were greeted by the world's biggest bread basket...

...for someone who doesn't eat bread that often, I savoured every last mouthful!

Shortly after our food arrived, Natalie's salmon...

...and my Monte Carlo Haddock...

My meal was amazing.  The smoked haddock was succulent and melted in my mouth.  The flavour was really complemented by the grain mustard potatoes and the poached egg was simply the icing on the cake...or the egg on the fish in this case!  It was both filling and delicious; I'd definitely chose it again.

Thankfully we weren't too full so had room for dessert (of course we did!) and both chose the Creme Brulee.  I think I must have used the word delicious about sixty million times in this post, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it was a taste sensation!

So then with full tummies, tired legs from our earlier adventures and the excitement of the day ahead still with us, we settled our bill and grabbed a cab back to our little Premier Inn room at St Pancras.  Our Saturday in London was truly amazing and Balthazar really is an experience worth having for all of you foodies out there.  The next time you're in the city, make sure you check it out!

That's it for now lovelies!  Watch out for the next part of our trip coming later this week!
Until then...thank you for reading!



Sunday, 24 May 2015

The London Series Part One: Shopping and the Shard...

Hey lovelies!

As we are enjoying another Bank Holiday weekend, I thought it was about time I wrote up what I got up to on the last one and what an amazing weekend it was! Yes, the May Day weekend saw my lovely VBF Natalie and I head to London for an amazing best friend weekend. As we squeezed in so much, I thought I'd write up a little London series starting with this post of Saturday shopping and a visit to the Shard.

After an early train ride, we arrived at London King's Cross at around 10am and headed straight to Covent Garden to start the day with some long anticipated shopping! After an early rise, we were both a bit peckish and what better way to squash those grumbling tummy noises than with some Laduree macarons!  Knowing I'd be having lunch before long, I resisted the urge to buy a box full (it certainly took some restraint!) and instead opted for three, a salted caramel, a yuzu ginger and a pistachio.  They were delicious as always and I'm yet to taste a macaron to rival that of Laduree's best efforts, they never disappoint!

We'd already visited Mac so Natalie could stock up on some essentials, and after macarons our next stop was Burberry's Beauty Box.  I just want to take this opportunity to express our absolute undying love for Burberry...we love Burberry so much! As there's nowhere to buy beloved Burberry makeup near home, we decided that this visit was an absolute must! I couldn't resist a gorgeous 'English Rose' lipstick from the new Burberry Kisses range (to come in a later post!) whereas Natalie got herself a bottle of my favourite scent 'My Burberry'.  I'm not going to lie, we excitedly skipped away with our gorgeous Burberry gift bags and an invite to come back for some complimentary treatments.  I can't wait to go back!  We couldn't resist a browse around Burberry Brit too, it's what my dreams are made of (and Chanel of course!)!  Our final stop was a visit to Jo Malone where I bought myself my very first scent, Earl Grey and Cucumber...but more of that later in the series!
Our first stop on Oxford Street was to the mother ship, Selfridges.  Our internal shopping homing pigeons always take us there and I think we'd quite happily move in if we were given the opportunity! We spent hours browsing the handbags whilst I chose a stunner to add to my Vivienne Westwood collection and Natalie pondered splashing out on a Phillip Lim (in the end she resisted-such restraint!).  Shopping is hungry work, so we headed to the food hall next and sampled the most amazing ham and cheese crepes, tastetastic and totally filling, a perfect choice for a light bite.  After finally pulling ourselves away from our favourite place on Earth, we made pitstops to both Liberty's to admire the gorgeous flowers, Victoria's Secret and the amazing Ben's Cookies on Carnaby Street for an amazing after lunch sweet treat.  I got white chocolate and cranberry...amazeballs!

 A couple of Selfridges windows...

Time had passed by so quickly, so we jumped on a tube and headed to London Bridge for our trip up the Shard.  It was quite a cloudy day, but the visibility was still good and I was so amazed by what you could see from both floors 69 and 72.  Seeing the Shard from the ground is impressive enough, but being up there (which takes literal seconds, the lift is super fast and smooth!) is out of this world!  The champagne bar is a bit of a let down (it's more like a champagne table!) and the gift shop offers everything you can think of with the Shard emblazoned on it, but it's worth every penny just to see the amazing view.  Although we were probably giggled at, I was so pleased that Natalie remembered her selfie stick!  We got some great photos and had fun trying to snap them from every angle whilst capturing the view.  I can't believe that people actually live in The Shard too; it's a great place to visit but it must be so weird having a tourist attraction as your home!

Once back on the ground, we decided to hop on a London bus back to St Pancras to our hotel rather than take the tube.  I love to take the bus in London; if you're visiting you get to see things and places you'd never see if you took the Underground everywhere (the bus route around Marble Arch is my favourite!) and it's fun!

So after a fun filled first day we headed back to get ready for a fun night out...but you can read more of that in part two.  Thanks for reading lovelies xxx

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