A Hidden Gem of a Restaurant in Ladbroke Grove

Kipferl is an Austrian restaurant located in Ladbroke Grove. There’s a few other locations, but this was the first time I stumbled upon this hidden gem. Kipferl serves  Viennese classics such as Wiener Schnitzel and Kaesespaetzle, along with some refreshing Austrian beers and wines. The feel to the restaurant was so welcoming with a swanky looking cocktail bar and framed paintings and artwork throughout the eating area.

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I ordered the Kalbsgeschnetzeltes. Yeah. I asked the waiter if people just point to the menu items but he reassured me that the one I chose was a hard one to pronounce. It was pan fried veal in a mushroom and wine sauce with fried potatoes for £13.80, and I ordered a Austrian beer to accompany my meal. The food had such a home cooked feel to it, as my portion was just enough to fill me up. The mushroom sauce was so flavorful without being overpowering.

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Also, as a side note, where have I been with the Huji photo filters? I’ve seen so many people using the filters and never asked where it was from. Huji is an app that mirrors a disposable camera and applies an automatic filter to your photos. I’m obsessed with it now as you can see these series of photos,a long with the one above.

Last was this espresso soaked chocolate cake, which was a great way to end my night. Overall, I love finding these types of places in London. It’s a great way to venture out, and the prices were descent. I’ll definitely be returning to this cozy restaurant again!

Hope you liked this post. I’ll hopefully be doing more reviews like this soon.

Canary Wharf Lighting & Getting the Perfect Shot

Here’s a little picture from the Canary Wharf lighting they had a few weeks ago. I saw tons of photos on Instagram prior to going and these were the ones I wanted to hunt down and take pictures with.

These went off every eight minutes which was so funny for photos. Did anyone else start snapping like crazy when the lights started again? It was a timed race to get the perfect picture, which is hilarious in retrospect. Anyway, I’m looking for some more Instagram spots or events in London so if anyone knows any, email me or comment below a favorite spot of yours during the wintertime!

Visiting the South of France & Solo Travel

I had a little vacation to Nice in the South of France, and it was beautiful. I have always loved traveling but was hesitant to do some solo traveling. When I first arrived, I knew it was the right decision because I was staring at the French Riviera when I got off my bus. Nice is a relatively small city and can be explored in just a few days. While it’s not a thrill seeking city by any means, if you’re looking to have some wine and pizza on the beach (which I did), it’s the perfect place to go to.

These photos were taken while going on a free walking tour. I used the app Meetup, which gives tons of free events to join by simply plugging in what area you’re in. The thing about the app is that you can choose your location no matter where you currently are, so I was able to find Nice events while still in London. Our tour guide was great because she led us on top of a waterfall, where we got the view of the entire beach. It’s really breathtaking.

While we were walking, we found a ton of lunch spots but opted to get two pizzas and two bottles of wine to take with us to the beach. I don’t have pictures, but there was a pizza that had bacon, goat cheese and drizzled honey on it, and it was amazing. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, try going through narrow roads like this one rather than all the restaurants along the beach. You can have a little picnic while still having the view. Also wine is 5 euros for a bottle at corner stores, and it tastes just as delicious.

Here’s another really lovely photo from atop the waterfall. It really is such a stunning city. One thing I’ll say about solo travel is that you end up meeting tons of other people traveling alone. I think people are hesitant because you’re worried you won’t meet anyone and will feel lonely. However, if you’re going to be staying in a hostel, you’ll have loads of people to interact with. Take some time to be alone as well. I went to grab this amazing basil pesto pasta shortly after landing and it was one of my only moments alone. So if you’re considering traveling, but your friends have different schedules, just do it because you won’t feel alone, and even when you are alone, t’s still worth every penny.

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That was my trip. I’m not claiming to be an expert of this city. I was there for only three days. For me, it was about the experience. It felt like I could take a pause on life, but it also felt like moments I’d remember forever. Sounds dramatic, but if you’re need of some TLC, maybe take a weekend to yourself and take a chance.

Notting Hill & Columbia Road Flower Market

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In  an effort to blog more, I wanted to recap a couple of places that I visited last year but never got a chance to write about. My new year’s resolution is to blog more about my travels in Europe. Here are a couple of gems I went to in London.

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First off was the Columbia Road Flower Market, which is located in Bethnal Green. They had a ton of flower stands on sale, and it gets pretty crowded quickly. I also love the vibe with sellers chatting with customers or yelling out their latest deals to customers. Additionally, there are a ton of restaurants nearby to grab a quick Sunday brunch.

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The second place was Notting Hill, which is such a quaint shopping spot with little stands ranging from old fashioned cameras to alpaca wool sweaters to street food. My favorite part was walking around and seeing all the little houses that were each painted a different color. It’s so cool to see that people actually live these houses too. It seems like a pretty quiet area in comparison to most of London, so it was a nice excursion.

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Outfit details: My flower printed boots in the first picture were from Charlotte Russe and was only $15, and my scarf was actually from a charity shop for $2. My long coat is from boohoo and was on sale for $30, and my fur coat is from H&M and was on sale for $25.

 

 

Going to School Abroad in London: My First Few Weeks

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It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, and immediately after vowing that I’d blog more, I got so caught up with getting settled in London.

School: Going to school in London was a big risk, and the week that scared me the most was the very first session because I wondered if I made too much of a leap. I was stressed over being stressed for classes. How silly does that sound? The first week was exhausting and the transition from undergrad to master’s was so apparent to me. The workload and expectations seem higher, but I also think that’s a good thing. A lot of my friends didn’t pursue a master’s degree, which is totally fine, but it made really feel this enormous pressure to do well and prove that I needed that extra year. It’s definitely not easy, and it’s a big step up from my undergrad, but it’s a good push for me. When I was deciding what school to go to, my friend who came from Europe to the US said I would regret not leaving the United States, and he was completely right!

Transportation/ City Life: The culture shock is definitely something to get used to. Paying with predominately coins is so strange to me, and I still forget to bring my grocery bags with me so that I don’t have to pay for plastic bags. It’s all an adjustment, but it’s so worth it. The city of London is so beautiful. There’s so much to see, and I’m so happy that I’ve befriended people just as adventurous and in awe of the city as I am. One of the prettiest areas was near St. Paul’s Cathedral. I went to a rooftop bar nearby and the view was stunning.

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Nightlife/ Social Scene: When I was in school, I always told myself not to get too comfortable, but I did. I went to the same bars and clubs all the time. I was with the same friends drinking the same drinks, eating the same food, and it felt pretty great at the time. The only time I actually remember going on adventures was when I’d venture to Montreal or Vermont. While I loved my college experience, I’m so glad I decided to go to London and pursue my master’s instead of staying in New York, which was arguably way more of a safer choice in terms of being near to friends. However, every day, I meet people all over the world in areas I’ve never been before. The other day at Oktoberfest, I befriended the DJ and sound guy who were both from Germany. I have friends from Morocco, Ireland and Rome now. Everyone I meet has their own interesting story, and it’s challenging me to grow as a person as well.

 

 

 

Visiting an Alpaca Farm in the UK

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I recently visited The Alpaca Shop, where I walked the cutest alpaca. When I first arrived in the UK, I needed a few days to shop for university, so with the shopping and traveling that I’ve been doing, I was feeling very stressed out. This was such a therapeutic experience and the whole thing was one of a kind for sure. There were alpacas when we first stepped foot on the farm and they were a little daunting at first, but we had a great tour guide who explained the rules as we continued to see more and more of them on the farm and how to approach them. These animals are so dang cute and have their own little personalities, so I slowly feel in love with them as we continued.

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We walked them a descent amount along a path as each adult got to walk their own alpaca, while children had to share one with their guardian. I think that’s pretty appropriate too considering some of the alpacas were larger. As we walked together, our guide was attentive and made sure we all stuck together. There were times when the alpacas wanted to do their own thing. Mine was named Rosa, and she was constantly pooping and stopping to eat, so it was pretty funny to pick up on her cues and habits. Overall, I loved the experience, and anyone who knows me, knows that I’m obsessed with alpacas and llamas, so this was extra special for me. Apparently, these are popular in the UK, so if anyone ever has a chance to check out one of these farms, know you’re in for a very unique trip.

Also, the coat I’m wearing is from Boohoo, and it was 50% off online at the time, so I scored it for $30. It’s perfect for London weather. The scarf I’m wearing is from a thrift shop from Burlington, Vermont, but I don’t have any other details on it.

 

Visiting Maryland & Thoughts on Traveling

I got to spend the weekend in Maryland for the past weekend, and I loved it. I really want to talk about my little weekend vacation because it made me remember how much I love traveling and writing.

While I was in college, I somehow lost my desire to write about my travels even though I had some pretty fun adventures in places like Jamaica and Montreal. I got to attend Igloofest, which was one of the coolest events ever, and my phone died before I could capture what it was even about. That’s not usually like me. Traveling is something I’m sure all 20 somethings want to experience, including myself. If you have the opportunity to do it, plan it before it’s too late. So many people my age are settling down already, and while not that’s not necessarily a bad thing by any means, I think everyone can agree there is so much of the world to experience.

This weekend, I went to the The National Harbor. It was such a nice spot to relax, eat some great food and shop around. It definitely had a boardwalk feel to it, as the harbor was surrounded by unique shops and tons of seafood eateries. The first spot we checked out was a restaurant called The Walrus Oyster & Ale House. There were a ton of seafood options along with a great selection of drinks to choose from, including a separate Happy Hour menu with $7 frozen mojitos and margaritas.

Oysters are one of my favorite dishes to eat, so I was excited to try different types of oysters for $2.50 each. The oysters are divided into three categories: sweet, briny and salty. I chose one from each category, along with a single crab cake as a side. Even though I love oysters, I’ve always thought they all tasted the same. However, the sweet one was buttery and light. The briny one had a nice savory bite to it, and the salty was my favorite, so it’s interesting to see how my opinion shifted once they were divided on the menu.

Next, we went to Ben & Jerry’s for something sweet and decided to go on their ferris wheel. The view was beautiful, and we were able to go around four times to really appreciate it.

We walked around after, and that’s when my brother found The Pepper Palace. This place is so cool. You walk in and it’s sample heaven. There’s a ton of different salsas, dips, and BBQ sauces to try for free. Additionally, there’s a station to try their hottest pepper called The End (there was another to try but I cannot remember the name). I was hesitant, but I also wanted to say that I tried it so we signed their book, got our stickers and tried their pepper sauce. They put a single drop of sauce on a little plastic spoon, and that kind of scared me even more.

We tried it, and at first, it wasn’t that bad. It felt more like an instant spice, but then it faded. However, there was a pain in my stomach that I couldn’t explain. I thought it would go away, but it didn’t. I tried to down some milk, but that made it worse because I don’t usually eat or drink large amounts of dairy at once. I’m not going to get into detail, but the pepper upset my stomach so much, that I ended up puking behind a Rita’s Italian ice truck. Do I regret it? Kind of. I assumed tons of people try it, so I could too, but it did not agree with my stomach at all. Moral of the story: Be careful when doing some of these food challenges.

Anyway, those are a couple of the highlights from our trip, and tomorrow, I leave for London for a year! So with that being said, I plan on writing about all my experiences. Hope you enjoyed this post!