United Kingdom

Portobello Market

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When travelling, I usually try to veer away from the malls unless I would buy something specifically cheap in that country. Rather, being a sucker for street markets, I often include famous markets in an itinerary. Given that, on a trip to London, a visit to the famous and long standing Portobello Market is definitely a must!

The history of Portobello Market goes all the way from the Victorian era, that means, it originated since more or less 1850s! Imagine how this market stands the test of time and has been passed on from generations to generations. Presently, locals and visitors still flock the said market, we did! This is located in Nottinghill district of Kensington in West London, oh yes, that district that got famous because of Julia Roberts’ movie – who wouldn’t know?

The movie Bookstore!

Right from the starting point, it already gave me that feeling of excitement to wander through the streets and alleyways. One could already savour the vibrant feel – don’t mind the crowd though, it’s busyness is the beauty of it.

Drooling over the display of Pizza
Souvenir shops fill up the streets

It was quite gloomy and chilly when we arrived at the place.

Gloomy, chilly weather

Rustic, cobblestone houses that I find very English make up the road sides.

Wandering through

Portobello market is home to antiques and second hand items, vintagey ones. So if you are a collector, then this could be a haven for you. I love the items in the photo below, I find it nice when they use the London buses and photo booths imprinted on the items. It makes it very regal and it makes it perfect souvenirs.

Thrift Shops!
Souvenirs!

The more that I liked so many stuffs, the more that I didn’t buy anything at all! =))

Souvenirs, anyone?

I was fascinated by how the road curves gracefully, and with festive looking, colorful houses occupying the street sides. Indeed, this place exudes an energetic feel to it.

 

Colorful houses lining up the street
Local and visitors, busy wandering
Energetic.. Vibrant!
The seller and the things

I am a big fan of music that originated in UK. I find that they are real artists who soulfully creates good and soothing music. Nevermind that the band or artist is not so popular, well for me, the more indie it is, the better. 🙂 And in this trip, we found musicians along the streets showcasing their talents, and it was great.

Music.. UK scene

Vintage… Antiques.. Collectibles

And one best thing about street markets?….. Food, of course! =))

In UK, cafes would not go missing in the scene

Fresh Produce

Cheese and sauces

Sausages

And one staple that England is known for? …. Breads!!

There were just so many food that you can find, and it will make you feel like you just want to get hold of everything.

Pies and Tarts
Drool!
Pickles, Feta, Olives….

And there were also beautiful flowers….

Blooms

And that, my friends, is the Portobello Market scene. I will definitely come back again on my next trip, which I am hoping soon! =))

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London

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The iconic Big Ben and The Eye, I would believe that most would easily identify which country they are landmarks of, or rather, they are perhaps included on the list of many when the travel bug itches. I had long been wanting to visit the Royal City of London, a city which makes color red so regal and that which made red now my personal favourite.

Red Telephone Booth

I personally adore the telephone booths. For me, it is like an icon representing how people connected back then, not via wireless mobile phones or chat, but that times were you had to search all your pockets for coins, insert it in the machine and actually phone someone. And that time were you had to panic and find few more coins because your paid minutes were already running out… 🙂

The text in the ads says it.. yes, regent! Famous London Red Bus
St. Paul’s Cathedral London

A tourist attraction and a public area that was so crowded and right at a crossroad…. Trafalgar Square. If you are into people watching then this could be the spot for you.

Trafalgar Square

A principal symbol of monarchy of the United Kingdom, one’s trip to London would not be complete without a trip to The Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace

Right across the palace, we found these lovelies… and they were so beautiful!

Beautiful.. and they’re red.

Do you fancy Sherlock? I do! I am a huge fan! And so a visit to the Sherlock museum is a must!

The Sherlock Museum with a long queue of interested visitors

If you are an avid fan of Sherlock series (Oh yes, Benedict Cumberbatch), you would know Piccadily.

Crossing a pedestrian in Piccadilly, these screens can be seen in the opening of Sherlock series =)) yeah I’m a fan!

Other than actually visiting famous attractions of London, we also wandered through streets and alleyways within the city. And, I was fascinated by the rustic stone houses and cobblestones cinched at some of the streets and roads.

Just one empty, serene alley of London

Westminster Abbey! Who wouldn’t want to visit this famous place? The architecture is so sublime… awe inspiring, downright captivating.

Facade of Westminster Abbey
Capturing sections of Westminster Abbey
Capturing sections of Westminster Abbey

Are you a Harry Potter fan? I haven’t read the book though, but I surely adore the moviesss. So, platform 9 3/4, we went!

Let’s bump our heads into Platform 9 3/4!

Right beside is a merchandise shop of Harry Potter.. and the wands!!!

Expecto Patronum!

Heading back to the famous landmarks that make up the beautiful city of London…..

London Eye and Waterloo
I spy with the London Eye!

And the most iconic of them all, The Big Ben!

The Towering Big Ben
Enchanting Big Ben at night

We heard it from the famous nursery rhyme… London Bridge is falling down.. falling down, falling down. But this landmark is still standing and drawing visitors to its presence, like it did to us.

The London Bridge

That famous Abbey Road where you would see people queuing up and stopping at an actual road, halting passing cars, just to mimic that famous album cover photo by the Beatles – luckily, it seemed that most drivers who passed by were patient enough of those crazy visitors flocking at that road, we were!

Abbey Road

The city of London has a lot to offer to its visitors and there are many a ways on how to spend your vacation there. It is also a city that is so open to a melting pot of nationalities and I think this is the place where I found the most number of races be it city dwellers or visitors. Cafes, restaurants and of course, pubs also come abound and there are so much you can go to. I find that London is a place that I would definitely come back to.

Watch out for more posts about United Kingdom and soon, Scotland.

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Hummingbird Bakery, Nottinghill

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London trip would not be complete without trying out the bakeries, patisserie and cafes that build up the streets and alleyways of this royal city. This has been one of my goal in that trip as I am fascinated reading and following baking and cook books from famous British chefs and bakers as well as those baking shows out there in different food channels. And of course, some movies would also depict of London as having plenty of bakeries where different breads abound. I have been seeing this baking book called “The Hummingbird Bakery” for quite a whille and from the photos in that book, the cakes and cupcakes all look heavenly. So I decided I would not leave the city without getting my hands on their famous cupcake and savouring them.

Luckily, on one of our trip to Nottinghill (“it’s amazing how you can speak right through my heart….” remember that?) lol… The Hummingbird Bakery is sandwiched between thrift shops and I was excited to have seen it. Right away, we decided to go in and buy some.

Above: The famous bookstore in the movie 

The scene was already mouthwatering and so I had waited no time to buy and try it. I got a Red Velvet and Carrot Cake Cupcake. I must say that the former stood out for me and I must also say, that so far, this has been the best Red Velvet that I have ever tried. The cream is milky and not too sweet, the cupcake itself is also moist and full. Something that I would really buy should I get a chance to come back again.