LIFESTYLE – london spotlight: kew gardens

lifestyle - london spotlight - kew gardens

Combining bright lights with beautiful botanics, Christmas at Kew was one after-dark magical experience…

After hearing all about the stunning scenery at Kew Gardens, me and my friend Ali decided to experience them at night. We were amazed by how beautiful the gardens looked all lit up! The glittering trail took us past bright buildings, towering neon trees and even candle-lit land!

lifestyle - london spotlight - kew gardens 1lifestyle - london spotlight - kew gardens 6lifestyle - london spotlight - kew gardens 2lifestyle - london spotlight - kew gardens 7lifestyle - london spotlight - kew gardens 5lifestyle - london spotlight - kew gardens 3lifestyle - london spotlight - kew gardens 8
It was such a lovely experience and was the perfect place for romantics! You had just over an hour to walk the trail (plenty of time to indulge in one of their delicious food stalls) and you could even roast your own marshmellows!

I would definitely recommend this experience or even a day visit to Kew Gardens, as it’s a totally different atmospheres from the hustle and bustle of central London!

sigyhl

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LIFESTYLE – exploring greenwich, london

london - greenwichOne of my goals for 2015 was to explore more of London, so me and Bobbi ventured to Greenwich for some classic pie and mash, and a quick nosey around!

Serving London’s most traditional pie, mash and liquor for over 125 years, Goddards at Greenwich is a family run business just located off King William Walk. Serving freshly made food over the counter ‘dinner lady style’, you can take your pick from their delicious selection of pies such as chicken and ham, steak and kidney and even a veggie soya pie.

food - london - greenwich - goddards at greenwich interiorfood - london - greenwich - goddards at greenwich no spitting signfood - london - greenwich - goddards at greenwich pie, mash and liquor I decided to go for the traditional minced beef pie with mash and liquor, whereas Bobbi went for double pie, double mash and liquor, both were around £5-£6 each. Sat in one of their wooden booths surrounded by paintings, photographs and old signs, you really feel Goddards’ ambience. To say it was my first time trying liquor – and that I was a little apprehensive – it turned out to be amazing and was just the perfect winter warmer that I needed!

london - greenwich mean time gmt observatorylondon greenwich mean timeAfter our pie encounter, we headed to the Royal Observatory – home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). I love exploring places like this, and learning something new about Britain’s history. Aside from time, another great thing about the Royal Observatory is that you also get to see some beautiful panoramic views of London – for free!

london - view of london from greenwich royal observatorylondon - greenwich carAnother one to tick off the ‘London bucket list’ was seeing the famous Cutty Sark and the old historical buildings. It’s hard to believe that this village is a part of London – it seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of Central!

london - greenwich - cutty sarklondon - greenwich buildinglondon greenwich flagThe next stop was Greenwich market and the local shops. There were carol singers and even a finely dressed-up goat! I love visiting markets and seeing all the different food, book and clothes stalls. In the market there were also some pretty cool art galleries which I would definitely recommend!

london - greenwich marketlondon - greenwich market - bookslondon - greenwich market - goat

Greenwich is such a pretty place, and I am so happy that Bobbi showed it to me! Have you been to Greenwich before?

sigyhl

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LIFESTYLE & FASHION – a black & white affair

lifestyle and fashion - a black and white affairlifestyle and fashion - detail

lifestyle and fashion - view from above

new look waistcoat / asos top / river island jeans /primark sunglasses & sandals

lifestyle and fashion - starbucks treats

a cheeky starbucks treat

lifestyle and fashion - urban outfitters

lusting in urban outfitters

lifestyle and fashion - britney mug

when you have a bad day, just remember this

linebreakEarlier this week I headed to one of my favourite cities – Manchester! It was a much needed ‘chill’ and ‘window shopping’ day, which consisted of a Starbucks (a caramel frappe and a skinny blueberry muffin, yum), whilst I sorted out my portfolio. I then had a cheeky browse in Urban Outfitters. I love their accessories and gifts section – if I could, I would have a whole UO library in my house – I just love their books! Today I am on my way to Leeds for a girls weekend, which will be amazing, as I haven’t seen my best friends in two months!

What are your weekend plans?

sigyhl

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LIFESTYLE & FASHION – simple stripes

lifestyle and fashion - simple stripesh&m shirt & trousers/primark sunglasses/misc. rings & bracelet

fashion and lifestyle - simple stripes - the conservatory library

the conservatory in leeds

fashion and lifestyle - simple stripes - the conservatory duck wrap wih rocket salad

duck and cucumber wrap with rocket salad

linebreakThe other day me and dad went to Leeds to get some final bits and bats for my trekamerica trip next week. We went for a lovely lunch at The Conservatory, which has the most amazing decor. We were seated in ‘the library’, where as the name suggests, we were surrounded by hundreds of books. The restaurant had a lovely ambiance and the menu also had healthy options for me to choose from. I went for the duck and cucumber wrap with rocket salad and a side of sweet potato fries. It was amazing and so filling! Today I am on my way to Madrid for a little break away with Ali! Keep up to date with my Spanish adventure on instagram – @sazwatson.

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LIFESTYLE & FASHION – sheer delight

lifestyle and fashion - sheer delightf&f top/river island shorts/converse/primark rings

lifestyle and fashion - sheer delight - breakfastmixed berry porridge

lifestyle and fashion - sheer delight - portfolioportfoliolinebreakOne thing I have always struggled with is how to portray my love of fashion and style on my blog. I hate having my picture taken, so I thought that I would show you guys what my daily outfits are through still life, so here goes! Yesterday was a comfy day focusing on life admin. I like to think with it being June that summer is finally upon us so I donned my River Island denim shorts – I also own the black and white styles too – and my F&F sheer cropped sweater, which added to my ‘lounging around’ vibe. Most of the day was spent sorting through my portfolio; printing my work and photos from shoots that I styled, and also updating and printing my CV. Today I am on my way to Leeds with my dad to get the final bits and bats for my trekamerica trip! It’s only 12 days away now – eek!

sigyhl

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FOOD & LIFESTYLE – chinese new year

food and lifestyle - chinese new yearLast weekend was Chinese New Year and what better way to celebrate the Year of the Sheep than tucking into a delicious meal in Chinatown?

With beautiful decorations, lots of dining options – including Japanese and Vietnamese restaurants – and even a lifesize panda in the streets, me and my boyfriend Ali thought it would be a great idea to experience our first Chinatown meal.

Chinese New Year - Lantern

One place that we stumbled across and couldn’t recommend more was Leong’s Legend on Macclesfield St. With queues forming outside the door, diners had to knock on the wooden door to be let in (very mysterious I know). After knocking on the door, we were greeted and taken to a wooden table in a quiet corner with a small partition for privacy. After glancing at the menu, we ordered a ¼ duck with pancakes and hoisin sauce (classic), sticky rice with shredded beef, pork dim sum and kung pao chicken.

Chinese New Year - Leongs Legend - Sticky rice with shredded beef

Chinese New Year - Leongs Legend - Kung pao chicken

Our food arrived at the same time which was great for us to dip in and out of dishes. The sticky rice with shredded beef was beautifully presented and tasted very sweet, however it was a tad small portion-wise. When our duck arrived the waiter kindly cut it up for us, something which we weren’t expecting but was lovely service nonetheless. One dish which I was eager to try was dim sum. We decided to go for the pork bun – pork belly in a peanut butter sauce – which was really sweet and delicious.

Lifestyle & Food - colourfully lit building in Chinatown London

On our way home we stopped off at the famous Kowloon Bakery on Gerrard St to sample some Chinese treats – and of course to grab a fortune cookie! We opted for a coconut bun (a coconut flavoured muffin with a cherry on top), a mooncake (with a red bean paste filling) and a nuomici (a glutinous rice ball with dried coconut shavings on the outside).

Chinese New Year - Cakes and Chinese treats from Kowloon Bakery

Chinese New Year - Chinese treats from Kowloon Bakery

My favourite dessert was the coconut bun which had a hard pastry case and a soft coconut flavoured muffin filling. I wasn’t too keen on the nuomici due to the texture, but each to their own!  It was a lovely end to our first dining experience in Chinatown and I cannot wait to try out new places the next time I go there!

How did you spend Chinese New Year?

Love from Sarah

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LIFESTYLE – alternative london walking tour

lifestyle - alternative london walking tour

ONE of my goals for this year is to get out of my comfort zone and see and experience more of London, and what better way to start than an alternative walking tour of East London?

Alternative London offers a variety of tours and workshops for those keen to know more about London’s creative hub and culture. Me and my friend Ellie decided to book onto their two hour East London tour. One great thing about Alternative London is that their walking tours are on a pay-what-you-like basis. Great for people on a budget!

We were told to meet at a talking goat statue (no really) at Spitalfields Market, where we met our tour guide Doug, and the rest of our twenty-strong group. Attracting people from both London and different parts of the world, the Alternative East London tour is not just for tourists, it’s for people who are interested in learning about East London’s culture. And what better place to start than Brick Lane?

lifestyle - alternative london walking tour - sculpture on top of a street sign post by Jonesy

Home to quirky independent shops, curry houses and the odd hipster, Brick Lane is awash with plenty of street art. From sculptures created by Jonesey (above), to portraits by Ben Slow (below), Doug opened our eyes with how many different artists have actually left their mark here. (Note to self: it wasn’t ALL Banksy)

lifestyle - alternative london walking tour - Charlie Burns portrait by Ben Slow

Whilst we were walking around Shoreditch, Doug also informed us about the area’s history such as the story of why there are so many curry houses on Brick Lane (lots of Bangladeshis immigrated to East London in the 1970s) and that before this, the East End was predominantly a Jewish community.

lifestyle - alternative london walking tour - Phlegm

lifestyle - alternative london walking tour - El Mac's cowboy

As the tour was coming to an end, Doug took us to famous street artist Borondo’s ‘Animal’ exhibition on Redchurch Street. The exhibition was really poetic and evoking, and I would definitely recommend it.

lifestyle - alternative london walking tour - Borondo animal exhibition

Overall, the Alternative East London tour an amazing experience – we got to see some amazing street art and learn about local culture – all the while on our own budget. If you’re looking for something different, I would suggest you check this company out – they also do pub and bike tours!

Love from Sarah

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