Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Best Places to Shop in London: My Top 10!

By now you probably know that I am obsessed with London! If you didn't know, I live in this marvelous city for 2 years a little while ago. I always say that London is a shopping paradise and here are my favourite spots to shop!

TK Maxx
This is the british equivalent to our Winners or US' TJ Maxx. There are an array of clothes, shoes, homeware and beauty. My favourite one is the one in Soho, but I also go in the Kensington High Street and Wood Green one.

Primark is really the British shopping mecca. It is also dubbed Primarni by locals. There is everything for everyone there: clothes (men, women, children), homeware, accessories, etc. Prices are dirt cheap and quality can be so-so, even though I find that they have upped their game in the past years. I wouldn't advise going to the Oxford Circus one, as it is too busy with tourists. The one in Soho is pretty good. If you have overshopped, you can even buy a new cuitcase there!

Wilko, as the British call it, is a store that is mainly homeware, but they also have beauty bits. Even though I like beauty, I don't really go there for that, as there is another place I prefer (more on that later)! They usually have cheap and cheerful mugs and cushions. There are not that many Wilkos around, the only one I know (but there ae other ones) is at Wood Green.

ASDA is similar to Wal-Mart, and I think it is partly owned or associated with the American giant. I used to go there for food when I lived there, but they also have G21 clothes (different than the ones we have in Wal-Mart) and a big aisle of magazines.

Boots is the girly girl's paradise. It is really similar to our Shoppers Drug Mart, as they stock beauty brands from drugstore to high end. Almost all the main brands can be found here. They also have a points program that is similar to SDM. The ones on Oxford Street and Picadilly Circus are two big ones in the centre, and I always take my time there!

I'm not a huge Superdrug fan, as I prefer Boots, but they sell Sleek makeup, and Boots doesn't. They also stocks GOSH.

Charity Shops on Camden High Street and Holloway Road
I could say other charity shops, as those are not necessary the best priced one, as they are located in an area busy with tourists (Camden High Street one). But, there are a lot of them on the same block, so you can kill many birds with one stone. I like to browse for books and their funky greeting cards. Hollloway Road is a lesser known to tourist area and there are also a few shops on the same block. That's where I will usually find nice clothes. The main charity shops you can find are: Oxfam, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, TrAID and Scope.

PAK's is like a global Sally BeautySupplies. They have so many products for all ethnicities! Just browsing there is an experience, as they stock things specific to african, asian hair and skin. If you are looking for something exotic in terms of beauty, they probably have it! That's where I get my Chines Miracle Cream, and you can buy real argan oil, rose water, etc.

Holland & Barrett
This is a vitamins and supplement chain and its stores are scattered all around the country. They also have beauty products and a food section. I go there mainly for Dr Organic toothpastes and Dr Stuart's teas (skin purify).

Whole Foods
Granted this one is not British, but the only Whole Foods I saw in Canada were in BC, so that's way too far for me! I like to go there again for teas and beauty products. They stock all the main "green" brands such as Antipodes, Zoya, PAI, Dr Hauschka,etc. The one on Kensington High Street has three storeys and a food court with different cuisines.

Do you have any favourite shopping spots in London? Or in your own city?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Room Tour

I love interior posts and blogs, but for some reason I don't post a lot about it. Mainly it is because I live at my parent's place and I don't have a say about most things. My parents moved house and area when I just finished uni. That was when I moved to Vancouver. And then I moved places a lot. And life brought me to my parents' 2 years ago. In "my" room, which I never have lived in, only been there as a guest. 

So sometimes it doesn't feel like my own room, as I didn't chose the wall colour, furniture and duvet set that matched the walls. I still add some of my touch, as turning the duvet on the beige side as opposed to the big flowers one. it's not that it was not pretty, but I was getting tired of it, and I change my beddind quite often.

Lots of the things in my room were thrift shop finds, so it is hard for me to tell you where you can buy it. However, the pillow shams were from IKEA about 10 years ago and it the Rosali Paisley from the popular Cath Kidston collab they had. The sequin cushion is from Rossy and they still have it.

I like to decorate with hardback books, you can find so many pretty ones at charity shops for a song. Here I have Cyrano de Bergerac (Edmond Rostand), Les Dames de Missalonghi (Colleen McCollough), Le Livre du Bonheur (Marcelle Auclair) and The Little Dictionnary of Fashion (Christian Dior). The last one is from Indigo, but the other three from various charity trips. I love to be bilingual, as I can have books in both French and English. I use to think that English hardbacks look better, but seeing that I mainly French ones on my bedside I might reconsider, haha!

Alexa Chung's IT is a girly girl staple
The lamp is from IKEA and is the little KNUBBIG one. When I bought it I didn't realised it wouldn't be light  enough to read, so I put some fairy lights over my headboard.

I also have fairy lights on my windowsill. I love the atmosphere it gives the room in the evening. The seashells are souvenirs I found at the beach in Portugal a few years ago.

I'm also obsessed about mugs. I bought the hearts one last year at Debenham's in London. The music notes one is from a local charity shop. I like to keep beauty bits in them, as I cannot justify all of them just for coffee.

I got this venetian mask when I worked at the Tourist Office in London. Every year, there was a  Belgian Ball (yep, I know! Canadiand girl in London working for a Belgian organisation. That's globalization for you!). The first year I attend the theme was a masked ball. My boss was planning to wear this mask, but she decided to give it to me :)

I hope you liked my little bedroom tour! Please link to yours if you have one!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Notting Hill Carnival

Seeing as my holidays in London coincide with the Notting Hill Carnival, there is no way I will miss it! And I thought I would take you with me for the time of a post!

Notting Hill Carnival is an event that recurs every year in London during the August Bank Holiday, which means the last Monday of August. It lasts during two days, the Sunday and Monday. On Sunday, it is a family event and on Monday, it is a real fiesta with people dancing and drinking in the streets.

The Carnival takes place in the street of Notting Hill (of the movie fame), in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. It mainly celebrates Carribean culture, mainly Jamaica, Trinidad, etc. It is open to everybody though, and you will see that if the dances and music are mainly Carribean, people in the streets come from all over the world. 

Just as you would see in Rio, there are cars parading featuring dance schools, musician, etc. The thing is really exhuberant too, and really is at the opposite of the cliché of rainy London. My own favourite part are the steel drums!

Even though every year there are some incidents reported (well, there is lot of people, and lots of booze), it amazes me how the event gathers people together. Like this cool policeman on the picture. He was dancing during his duties, and encouraging people to also dance!

After the parade, the streets stay closed to cars and people continue to dance and have fun!

If you'd like more info you can check out Notting Hill Carnival's website.

Have you ever been to Notting Hill Carnival?