Sep 26, 2014

An Atypical London Trip

Forget about doing the usual touristy stuff while you're on vacation, especially if you've been there multiple times. It is always more exciting to venture out of places that your handy travel guides have suggested and that's exactly what I did after flying halfway across the world to London for a research trip with some of my lecturers and schoolmates. You won't be seeing the Big Ben, the Buckingham Palace or the London Eye in this blogpost anytime soon.

Portobello Green Market

Now, don't confuse Portobello Green Market with the well-known Portobello Market. The two are somewhat different. How my friends and I found this gem, we are not entirely sure. All we know that Portobello Green Market is further down Portobello Road from where the main market is. Perhaps finding this place requires a lack of a sense of direction since it is so inconspicuous. Plus it is less packed and stocked with more affordable stuff too – works out well for us penniless art students.

My favourite thing about Portobello Green Market is not the abundance of vintage apparel and shoes, it is actually the sheltered food area next to it. It is almost unbelievable how many types of cuisine are jam packed into such a small space. Mexican food, Russian food, Indian food, you name it, they have it. I'm still craving the chicken fajita I had that day.

There is a seating area at the end as well which our tired souls and aching legs were incredibly thankful for. The live band playing in the bar behind us was a little bonus for us as well.

Pizza East (Shoreditch)

In the 10 days that my friends and I were in London, 6 were spent eating pizza and pasta for both lunch and dinner. It is now safe to assume that we are now pizza connoisseurs and the only pizza parlour that stood out to our tastebuds was Pizza East.

(Credits: beingashleigh) 

The exterior may look unassuming but the interior made our jaws drop! The restaurant looked like a slightly more industrial version of a 50's diner-cum-meat house which makes you want to whip out your camera and snap as many photos as possible. And yes, that was exactly what we did.

(Credits: wethefoodsnobs)

The pizzas were, of course, nothing short of fantastic and they were extremely generous with the portions as well. Our happiness meter was instantly filled up and one by one, our heads started nodding in unison. Even though they don't specialise in salads, it was equally as good (and this is coming from someone who doesn't eat vegetables). My recommendations? The veal meatball pizza for meat lovers and the salami pizza for my fellow spice addicts without a doubt!

Pizza East
56 Shoreditch High Street, London
EI 6JJ, United Kingdom

PS: There is a instant photobooth in the basement. You're welcome.

Brick Lane

So you're full from all the pizza you've just had at Pizza East. Now what else is there to do in Shoreditch? Do what I did and indulge in some retail therapy.

There are countless stores selling clothes created by independent designers here. They are not the most affordable but they are definitely unique. If you're more into fashion of the past eras, like me, there are a few vintage and thrift stores around the corner as well.

That's where I scored a sweet denim jacket which was retailing at £30 in regular retail stores for £10! Nice!

After we were done with shopping, we backtracked and took photos of the graffiti (with the graffiti as well) that were dotted all around Shoreditch. We couldn't help ourselves! Everything just looked so picturesque and suitable for an #ootd.

And it's unbelievable how everything looks so put together even though they were contributed by different artists right?

Benugo (Wigmore Street)

When it gets chilly in London, all you'd want to do is to run into a cosy, homely cafe, order a cup of hot coffee and warm yourself up. Well, at least that's what I did!

One of our lecturers brought us to Benugo after we told him that we needed our daily dose of caffeine. We found ourselves a cosy little spot in the basement where there were a lot less people around – makes for a good place to catch up with an old friend.

(Credits: Benugo)

My smoked salmon baguette did not disappoint and neither did my latte. Even though the portion was small, it filled me up enough to last me till dinnertime. To date, I still regret not ordering a slice of their lemon drizzle cake and brownie even though we received insider info that their brownie is one of their best sellers. Don't say I didn't share!

79-81 Wigmore Street, London

About the Writer

Eileen is a fashion student currently studying in LASALLE. She is a design and literature enthusiast who may be a little too obsessed about hamsters, strawberries, and strawberry-eating hamsters. Guess who's managing the blog? You can find her on Instagram @dirtspecks