June 13, 2011

London the Motherland

Getting around London is easy when you have the best guide!

Casey (my brave friend from my college days) decided to move to the motherland just six months ago. She's climatised to the ridiculous weather, got her head around the numerous transport systems, and knows all the best shopping and tourist locations. I don't think my London experience would have been possible without her. Firstly, two days before I was set to get on a plane she emailed to me precise directions to get to her house in Putney (including which trains to take, when to get off, and told me to avoid the expensive cabs)! The directions were easy enough (thank goodness - thanks Casey) however a warning to those travelling via underground trains - manourvering a suitcase is hard - there are barely any lifts!! Stairs and Escalators!! One good thing about being a tiny traveller with a massive suitcase is that complete strangers were eager to assist wherever possible! Londoners were nice, patient, and willing to cue! Plus the accent is to die for!

My weekend in London had been planned out for me thanks to Casey and her friend Emma. Day 1 consisted of Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace (where we nearly saw the Queen), coffee at Trafalga Square, and ending the day with some shopping at the infamous Oxford Street. I have never seen so many Zara, H&M, TopShop, Gap, Aldo shops on the one street! Mind you we also got lost walking around London which was the best way to see the city. As we had to get ready for Lion King the Musical that evening we quickly got home (one hour bus ride home) then came back to arrive in West End. If you ever stop at Covent Gardens train station do not what so ever decide to take the stairs. They will kill you as it nearly did me. Be patient and wait for the lift. 193 steps is not worth it - especially in heels!!

Day 2 consisted of the big bus tour - if you are limited on time this is the best way to see the city and it's famous tourist locations. Despite the cold windy wet weather we soldiered on! Though there were times I just wanted to roll up and die out of sheer hyperthermia! (PS I am now sick and losing my voice due to this so called summer weather!!) We saw everything - in particularly Harrods, Downing Street, London Bridge (which we happened to see open and close and if you see it and it wasn't planned apparently it's good luck) St Paul's Catherdral, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye. Fun Fact - the phrase daylight robbery came from London where the government back in the day used to charge tax to the London citizens by how many windows they had in their home. So to limit the tax they had to pay they bricked up some of the windows.

Anyways I strongly suggest to those future travellers to check out this fine city. It's so rich in history, architecture and culture that you'd be crazy to miss. You might even see some naked protesters!! haha.

Paris tomorrow!!!

Freezing outside the Tower of London

Casey & I on Oxford Street

June 8, 2011

Taking Action

I could no longer delay the inevitable! The dreaded task of packing. 

Being naturally indecisive I simply could not decide where to start! I soon found myself procrastinating: doing a load of washing, discussing engagement party details with my newly engaged house mate, getting dinner, and watching MasterChef and Glee. I don't even like those shows! Yet there I was sitting on my couch amazed at the level of talent these adult kids actually had.  My TV bubble burst when my house mate kindly reminded me that I was going to be on a plane in just over 24 hours and more importantly reminded me that I still hadn't finished packing! So off I went upstairs, the new show The Defenders would have to wait. Finally after several hours of strategically deciding what to wear, what to bring, and how many combination of "outfits" I could get with my limited selection I was done! To my surprise I was more decisive than I had originally thought. Snaps for Elle!! 

June 6, 2011

The Day Bag

A wise woman once told me "honey, always travel with style!" 

That wise woman was my dear mother; who over the weekend insisted she visit me before I depart on my first solo mission overseas to give me motherly advice on the do's and dont's. My first thoughts of course were the usual suspects 1) don't talk to strangers (even if they ticked all the boxes of a possible summer holiday romance); 2) don't wander alone in dark or deserted allies; and 3) keep your belongings secure and on you at all times (blah blah blah). To my surprise her only concern was my chosen travel bag: "You must buy yourself a grown up bag. This little thing just won't do!" She was referring to my across the body leather satchel that struggled to fit my Prada wallet, iPhone, and keys. I happened to find this precious gem buried away in her closet during a monthly visit to the family home. I loved my little satchel. It was my new favourite thing. Genuine leather, perfect size, adjustable straps - it even had sentimental value: 1) it was my mother's; and 2) it even had her pin number (from the 80s) scribbled in permanent marker inside. PS: great security system there mum. But according to mother it simply was inadequate! 

Mum was on a mission. By 10am Sunday morning we were off to Chermside! Of course I drove because after 17 years of chauffeuring me around she now firmly believes she has the right to be driven around for the next 17 years (at least). Many shops later; many um's and I don't knows; plus my refusal to spend money on a bag I simply did not require, we ended up at Kikki K. I had an ulterior motive for going into this store as I wanted to ask the shop attendant where they bought their white trestle desks (I've been obsessing over it for months). While discussing the matter with the sales attendant I suddenly hear my mother summon me to the corner. She had spotted the Stockholm CollectionI had doubts at first but my mum finally sold the idea to me (better than the sales attendant): 100% genuine Italian Leather but Swedish design, detachable iPad case, laptop compartment, detachable across the body shoulder strap, and organised compartments for phones, pens, travel documents etc. Not to mention that for the size and quality of the leather it was a bargain! A key factor especially when you're about to trek to the other side of the world alone with your well planned budget! I took out my wallet and proceeded to the cash register. Mum had a sale and I was a sucker to motherly advice!


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