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Sunday, 8 February 2015

Queen's City

This trip has always been on my agenda. It started as an unattainable dream, a flashy billboard you see while waiting for a subway. It is funny how it started. One time during my high school years, my dad brought back a clothing catalogue, a company by the name of Gloria, from his Asia trip. It was a very small shop but their marketing concept was very fresh. The catalogue was basically a photoshoot taken in Cambridge , the theme was 求學夢, the model was a eurasian girl and accompanying each photo was a poem or a lyrical description of her life as a student. That catalogue really captured my imagination and I have to study it every night before bed time, eventually ordering a few items through a lady who later became my stepmom. Never underestimate the power of a catalogue. 

Whenever I planned a trip, I am super picky about who my trip mates are, but this time due to circumstances, the first time that I meet Eveen, was at the airport. The landing time was perfect, we were both lining up at the custom, as the phone is not working and wifi flaky it was a huge relieve ~ When I saw a beautiful girl in cute grey winged sweater and a camera in hand, I knew we will get along just fine. Having the talented and easygoing illustrator around really enhanced my trip. I learned a lot about posing and creating angles with the body, apparently the more angles there are the more intriguing the composition would be. 

Our host Ollie was super friendly, prepared wine, tea, biscuits for us as gift. He patiently drew out maps and recommended restaurants for us, although we still didn't really comprehended the directions, due to jet lag, we felt very welcomed. The apartment was a freshly painted old building, it has a comfy cottage loft feel to it. 

When we think of London, Buckingham palace will automatically come into the picture. Public viewing is only opened for eight weeks during August to September. We were very fortunate to make it in time. The guided audio tour was very comprehensive, giving you just enough details and perspectives to keep it educational but light. The music in the background as you walk up the spiralled stair case adds to the grandness too. I am surprised to learn there is a hidden secret door in that leads from the queen's bed room to guest conference room. I think it definitely helps when the queen is running late :) 

We also paid the famous Fortnum & Mason tea a visit. What really captured my interest was a display done by local art college students. They need to construct an artistic tool that can accompany the afternoon tea culture. This carousel in particular is used for wrapping up unfinished scones. You just need to place the scone in the middle and the musical horses will turn, packaging your food with a delicate bow. I also adore the tiffany blue ribbon which is also the official colour of fortnum tea :) 

On Saturday we did another obvious attraction, the British Museum, being in London for a week and the first time,  we have no choice but to follow the "mandatory course". Ofcourse the bible tour was as enlightening and enjoyable as ever. The two that we did were " how to survive a famine" and "keep your eyes are the prize" Having the vivid visual aides and the humorous tour guide Michael, really brought the bible to life, if only I can do my personal study in an museum from time to time :) One thing that he mentioned was how the coliseum was surrounded by perfumed water, music can be heard miles away and the imposing building itself was very attractive. Surprisingly it all comes at no cost to attend a show, yet the first century Christian would shun those entertainment since it is full of bloodshed and violence. The same can be apply today. I shudder at how similar history and present is 

Portabello road is our next stop. The colourful buildings and vintage cars really build the character of this street. 

And finally off to my highlight of England ~ Cambridge. We need to board the train for that and it was so lovely to get a sight of the rolling country side and fresh air. It would be a dream come true if I can study there for one or two months. 

Eveen is a very talented illustrator and her older brother gave her a moleskin travel diary before her trip because she was a little stressed about organizing. She is a perfectionist and not only writes but would also draw a delicate sketch of a highlight of the day. She finally had a little time to catch up on the train from London to Cambridge. When we got there and found this calming piece of lawn, surrounded ivory towers and fresh fallen walnuts, it is a perfect spot to read through our travel memories. 

One of the thing I love is farmer markets~ I don't need to buy anything.... ( but I often do ) ... just walking through the colourful canopy and being greeted by sincere vendors who will tell you stories about their products are enough to make my day. We each bought monogram stamps. Embossing powder can be sprinkled on and make a golden seal for my letters. We also bought local organic strawberries, and hamburger with thick slice of rib, tart blue cheese, and chipotle sauce, which was to be our lunch. I love meeting strangers and absorbing their passion ~ It is what make my trips memorable and unique. 

One of the thing I always have my eyes out for is a CD unique to that area, an one of a kind that is sold by a local artist is the best. My dear trip mate was very helpful in this aspect too, going out of her way to ask musicians we meet at the subway if they sell CD. I was super impressed with this talented boy. He was playing on an electrical violin and could record multiple layers of music as he plays so it sounds very harmonized. Unfortunately he did not record any disc at this moment. 

Art comes in all form and shapes, Eveen was determined to travel back to that dark scary tunnel after dinner and Matthew was eager to please her, Elsa and I had no choice but to follow. There was a motorcyclist there and a van once blocked our way which was enough to stir up my adrenaline.  However it is fun when you finally discover its beauty. It is like staring at those 3D pictures once you got the "insight" you will marvel. There was also a graffiti artist there performing his spray while his girlfriend patiently admire from a far. So I promise myself that before rejecting things (things that are safe and healthy) , I should always give it my best in trying. 

      Day 5

The next day was perhaps the most calming and Victorian of our London trip, consisting of a visit to Royal Kew Garden and afternoon tea at the Orangery in Kensington Palace.We slept till we are replenished. There are so many conservatories to see we only picked three. The cactus, the water lily and the tropical plants.  

Last Day

We decided that it is time for a little shopping at the burberry outlet. Surprisingly the person who got the most good deals was Matthew. We stopped by a local cafe and was still in time to enjoy a full English breakfast, with ketchup beans, sausages, stuffed portobello mushroom and egg. 

And this is the end of my post for London~~~ Special Thanks to Eveen who was my personal photographer ~ Thank you so much for dropping by~~

To end my the post here is what I created back home to reminiscent London.


  1. Hi Peony, I enjoyed reading your blog post! London is definitely on my list of places to travel to, and you've given me some suggestions for activities!

    1. haha thank you ~ go for it :) you will love it :)