Posted in Travel sparks

London colours

This is the last short post from London – just wanted to include some of the more colourful photos that I snapped as we wandered around.

Tights for sale at Notting Hill. Legs not for sale.
Notting Hill houses – some look like the result of a neighbourhood dare.
An old guy was out on the balcony of the bottom floor apartment here – love that he has brightened up the bland council housing with an amazing garden.
Van? What van? There’s nothing parked here, officer.
Wen-Bao, you are a peculiar looking baby, being sold by the mean book man at the Portobello Market.

And to finish, the world-famous EverydaySparks photo of bumble bees in Holland Park. Well, someone contacted me to ask if they could post it on the Holland Park Facebook page – technically, that makes it world-famous!

Buzzing around in Holland Park.
Posted in Travel sparks

Honey, I’m home

First of all, a big shout out to my virtual pal Emma of the fantastic blog Out of the Birdcageย who first told me about this amazing shop in London via a post on her blog. Even the name suggested that I was going to like it immediately: Drink, Shop & Do. Located near Kings Cross Station, it’s a combination of shop, cafe, bar and craft workshop. And it’s incredible. I want to live there. Although, when I told the girl at the counter that, she just laughed nervously and glanced towards the door.

Started by two high school friends, it’s pretty much the place I would love to open if I had the courage and cash to open a place. Set in a large open space, with a shop selling funky designer crafty stuff and a range of sweets (painstakingly weighed out on an old fashioned scale).ย And then there’s the cool cafe/bar area – with an extra function room at the back, complete with some sort of tents and a giant disco ball. There’s a sky light and some colourful fiesta-style paper chain action on the ceiling. There are also colourful kites all over the walls. And some crazy furniture. I’m sure you’re getting the idea now. During the day, they offer a wide range of cakes as well as afternoon tea. And the staff are all very pretty too.

For breakfast, we chose a caramel macadamia cheesecake. As you do when you’re on holidays. We figured that with the calcium, protein and all-round energy provided by this breakfast treat, it was practically the same as a bowl of Special K with skim milk.

They also offer afternoon tea – and there’s even a special ‘manly’ afternoon tea, if scones and darjeeling just aren’t your thing. (It features beer and pork and some sort of pie, I think.)

For the ‘do’ part of the shop’s promise, they offer a range of activities including musical bingo, adults only scrabble, colouring competitions and other creative options. Most of them are based around cocktails, which sounds like a pretty clever idea.

I really could go on all day about this incredible place, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so will leave it at that. There are more photos and info on the Drink, Shop & Do website here. I highly recommend a visit (and the caramel macadamia cheesecake) if you’re in London.

 

Posted in Travel sparks

Choccywoccydoodah

No, I’m not jet-lagged. Choccywoccydoodah is the name of a very cool chocolate and cake shop in the UK and we visited its London store for afternoon tea. If you can imagine Willy Wonka and the Cake Boss joining forces and then increasing their over the top-ness by the power of 10, you’ve pretty much got the idea. It’s a bit crazy.

Here are some of the cakes that were on display. Yep, they’re all cakes.

And then there was the upstairs cafe, with another giant cake on display (the rose one in this picture) along with a huge range of amazing-looking cakes on sale by the slice. Pretty much enough to induce a sugar coma just by looking at them. Most of the cakes were made of several layers, with a whole heap of marshmallows or sweets on top for good measure.

Like this one. It was a chocolate, gingerbread, coconut cake. But you can’t really see it, because the huge slice appeared on a plate under chocolate drizzle and ice cream. We also ordered a chocolate flapjack, in case one piece of cake wasn’t enough. We hadn’t realised the one piece of cake would be as big as my head.

Needless to say, we rolled out of the shop after eating as much as we could. Which really wasn’t all that much.

You can have a look at the amazing work of Choccywoccydoodah here. And just a tip – if you’re going for cake, don’t have breakfast, lunch or dinner that day.

Posted in Travel sparks

Things wot I saw in London

Here are some more pics from London – this time, less of the touristy postcards & more of the EverydaySparks.

Firstly, Wimpy Bar. I thought the name was funny and there was a certain sense of irony that the wimpy bar had closed. Then a man sidled up to me while I was taking the photo and said that the Wimpy Bar used to be the McDonald’s of London, back in the day. (The day before McDonald’s, presumably.) He said there were still a few Wimpy Bars around the UK, ย but most had closed as they couldn’t keep up with the bigger burger chains. I nodded and smiled at him, because in my experience it’s a fine line between a helpful stranger and a crazed lunatic. He must have sensed my disbelief as he grabbed his jumper where there was some sort of logo and said, “I’m a tourist guide with [somewhere]”. Oh, alrighty then, must be true – thanks Wimpy trivia man.

And here’s a great – if a little slow – way for your wedding party to get around London. The driver appeared to be a little underwhelmed by the festivities, but am sure he perked up when the tipsy guests started singing Land of Hope and Glory on their way home from the reception…

It was actually Fashion Week in London and we passed quite a few wacky looking outfits, but I’m not sure if they were fashionistas or just crazy loons. I think this lady with her incredibly bright pink hair was just a London local going about her business on a sunny day. You go, girl.

And just a tip – if you’re going to St Paul’s Cathedral, pay heed to the signs that warn you about the climb to the viewing spots. Even though I didn’t wear my trusty running shoes The Pinkies, I thought I’d be fine to climb up the stairs to reach the top…but it was hard going and we decided that 2/3 of the way to the top would be fine for this visit. Here’s a photo of the view from there – feel free to use it to show your friends and relatives to save yourself the climb.

And finally, if you’re in London and you see these machines, don’t believe them – they’re quite misleading.

Posted in Travel sparks

Allo allo allo

Short and sweet – here are some photos of our day walking around London. My feet tell me that we walked around a lot of London, but it was such a lovely day that it seemed a shame to spend it underground. Here’s the next instalment of my London travel diary – promise there are no more of that scary Mary, Queen of Scots.

Part of Buckingham Palace. (I think.)
Near St James Park. (I think.)
Something something building.
Big Ben. Sure about that one.
Nice day, thanks London.
Lots of people about. Lots and lots.
Everyone dressed up for the Olympics.
Guess it was an olympic sport – ping pong tables were all over town. Even the hipsters were at it.