LONDON. It felt like coming home.
I was pretty desperate to get back to the place I called home for nearly four years after a two-year absence.
I was missing my best friends like crazy and couldn’t wait to spend some solid quality time in their company.
I spent a phenomenal two weeks there this September, staying with my partner in crime Emilia.
Emilia and I’s adventures ended up being mostly about exploring the colourful street art around Shoreditch, but we had a brilliant and silly time whilst doing so. The best thing about London is that I always discover new things and find inspiration by accident (just by being out).
Through our exploration of graffiti, I discovered the art of Camille Walala.
We also stumbled upon the MAST brothers chocolate shop. They had a limited sea salt collection with the most beautiful packaging created by Calico Wallpaper. See the wrapping artwork here.
Our schedule was pretty packed. On top of some much needed hang time, I was party-crashing Emilia’s granddad’s 90th birthday in Eastbourne (a 2-hour train journey south of London), we got our hair done, our ritual one-time-pamper-time was upgraded to a full day at the spa, we saw Oh Wonder at the Roundhouse, attended her friend’s birthday night out, had rooftop drinks at Frank’s Cafe with our good friend George, I saw my wonderful cousin Carol, and we organized a brunch date with our University pals.
Emilia had moved since the last time I visited. She and her partner Mikee bought a flat near Surrey Quays overground. We spent a lot of time walking through the docklands to get to and from their place. On our route was a boat that had been hijacked by squatters, which they had turned into a pirate ship, and some other interesting water vessels. One of the boats was painted in such an awesome colour, I took a photo for future reference.
Emilia had discovered a new vegan restaurant in the Box Park in Shoreditch called Cook Daily. We made a point to visit twice, since we missed their adjacent sister establishment the first time.
Our spa day at K West was amazing. We went early to take advantage of their facilities, including the sauna, sanitarium, steam room, hydrotherapy pool and snow room. The snow room was avoided by the other guests, but it became my favourite post-heat retreat. Afterwards Emilia and I went on to our baobab massage and facial treatments, where my mind and body turned to mush and I struggled to keep from falling into a cosy slumber.
We stopped by Rough Trade to make use of their photo booth, which is a great way to make up for lost photo opportunities with your besties. The remainder of the two weeks was dedicated to some serious hang time. Before I knew it, the end of my trip arrived.
On the plane ride home, I started vehemently writing a letter to the immigration minister for the UK, arguing my case for why it shouldn’t be difficult for someone like myself to get a visa to live permanently in the UK. My feelings about London haven’t changed since I left. As soon as I step on the plane to take me home, my heart gets heavier inside my chest.