London’s Best Instagram Spot: God’s Own Junkyard

I know, I know, I’ve been extremely MIA from this weird corner of the internet. It’s a long story that involves me finishing my dissertation the day before it was due,  long summer days drunk on sun and tequila, interviewing and then being crushingly rejected from several jobs before landing my dream job, falling in love (read: lust) a thousand times on Bumble, and falling even more in love with the city of London.

Pinky swear I’ll catch you up on these chattier (aka dramatic) topics at a later date when I’m feeling a bit more poetic, but in the meantime I thought I’d woo you back with one of my new favourite places (and best spots to photograph) in London. This weekend my friend Jordan and I made a pilgrimage to an effortlessly cool, Instagram haven of neon perfection in….Walthamstow. For those of you unfamiliar with London, Walthamstow is literally east of Jesus waaayyy out in suburbia. After going to the end of the Victoria line, then taking a bus, then meandering around a cute village that felt entirely out of London, we finally found our fluorescent junkyard, God’s Own Junkyard, that is.

Eyes glued to my Google Maps app, I at first led Jordan astray and past our destination, but finally we entered our Mecca and boy was it worth it.

After a long trek with too little caffeine, I was convinced the shop would leave me disappointed. The candy-hued bonanza exceeded expectations, however, and I highly recommend you head there ASAP if you’re in need of inspiration. It inspired me to blog again, which is no small feat.

You can commission them to create a neon artwork for you, or just endlessly browse like we did. Luckily, they’re very welcoming to tourists, so you won’t feel guilty for taking photos and taking in the seductive glow. There’s also a cafe, so pull up a coffee (not too overpriced all things considered) or Coca Cola and embrace the cavalcade of color.

The kitschy, sometimes very sassy or raunchy, signs are perfect for a photo op. I call this one “me facing a Monday.” Cheeky.

Snag a spot on one of the couches and get a bit vibey.

Or take photos of your photogenic friends.

Dress (similar)

I honestly could have spent all day here, and surprisingly can’t wait to go back to Walthamstow to spend more time finessing my neon photography skills.

Coat // Loafers // Backpack

 Newly convinced that everyone looks better in a pink glow.

Pretending I’m Scarlett in Lost in Translation.

No, no I’m not.

Next time you’re in London I highly recommend making the trek to the dreamy junkyard. If you’re staying central, the commute isn’t too bad on the northbound Victoria line. No cameras allowed, but you can use a phone camera, so snap away. It’s a photographer’s dream and hasn’t yet been overrun by every basic betch looking for the perfect Instagram (I’m looking at your, Sketch).

Bring the Junkyard Home:

Valentine’s Day in London

Happy early Valentine’s Day, internet friends! In honor of the much better Galentine’s Day holiday (if you didn’t watch Parks & Rec, you can learn more about the holy day here), I decided to take myself around London on a festive little date. As Tom Haverford says, treat yourself. Lucky for me, the city is adorned with its best red and pink glitz and is almost as charming as when it’s decked out for Christmas.

To start the day, I made a pilgrimage to a famously pink palace in Belgravia that was looking even more whimsical than usual (and a bit like Cupid threw up on it – in the best way possible)….

Right around the corner from Victoria Station in swanky Belgravia, Peggy Porschen is a cake and tea shop known for its insta-famous cotton candy facade. Wrapped in flowers and balloons, the shop looked St. Valentine-approved.

The selection of sweets was just as mouth-watering as the decorations.

Since Galentine’s Day only comes once a year, I settled on a strawberry champagne cupcake for breakfast. Leslie Knope would approve.

Pink Sunglasses

Sidenote: the roses on top are not edible. I may have given them a try, since I have no restraint with food. The rest of the cupcake, however, was entirely edible and entirely delicious. After literally licking my fingers clean, I strolled around Belgravia to discover any other decorated shops. They weren’t as over the top and candy pink as Peggy Porschen, but Neill Strain Florist and Jo Malone also impressed.

Leave it to a florist to nail extravagant romance.

Belgravia is pretty residential and full of quintessential London row houses that I can’t afford.  Sadly, I did not bump into any future first husband potentials while stalking the mansions. Before I could get too depressed by all the fabulous, over-priced real estate, I headed to Mayfair to scout out more of the V-Day spirit.

While there were plenty of chic storefronts that ALMOST made me want a boyfriend, Fenwick on Bond Street was the showstopper.

How fantastic are those balloons? Can I have them for my next birthday party? They also reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Up, which honestly tells one of the best cinematic love stories in its first 10 minutes.  It was the perfect fanciful stunner to cap off Galentine’s Day.

While it’s no Galentine’s Day, tomorrow I’ll likely be spending Valentine’s Day again with my two great loves: food and London. Hope yours is filled with lots of love!

Shop my Valentine’s Day favorites:

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DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle & AirBnB links are affiliate links.

How to Have London’s Best Afternoon Tea at Sketch

So you’ve seen the notorious pink velvet awash on every fashion blogger’s London posts, or maybe you read this article of London’s most Instagrammed restaurants. No matter how you found it, your heart is set on visiting  the glorious pink halls of Sketch during your next trip to London.

I made my first pilgrimage to this basic betch holy site back in December, and I’m happy to report that it lived up to the social media hype. Yes, it’s really that beautiful and pink, and it really was worth the 50 pound price tag.

In case you decide to make the chic visit to Mayfair during an upcoming London trip, I wanted to share my top tips for having the best afternoon tea at Sketch, so you get your money’s worth and take full advantage of the insta opportunity.

Book Well In Advance
Trust me, you aren’t the only tourist or Londoner to see Sketch on Instagram and want to high tail it to its candy-colored halls. This place is packed, especially on weekends and especially in the pink room (more on that soon), so be sure to book ahead, particularly if you’re in London for a limited amount of time. Reservations open one month in advance for tea on their site, so set a reminder to reserve your table on that date.

Book the Correct Room & Time
While the cotton candy velvet dreamland is Sketch’s most famous room, there are actually several different dining options in the restaurant, and all have very specific themes including The Glade, The Lecture Room and the Parlour. If you’re looking for the quintessential experience, book afternoon tea in The Gallery. Dinner is served there as well, if there are no tea reservations available. Afternoon tea service ends around 5:30PM, so book a late reservation from 3:30PM onward. You’re less likely to be asked to give up your table after two hours (there won’t be any more tea reservations to take your spot), and you’ll have a better chance of taking photos without random strangers crowding your pics.

Get Super Bougie
Oh you fancy huh? London is a fashion-conscious, dressy city to begin with, but you can embrace your inner diva even more during your trip to Sketch. Every patron seemed to don their bougie best (even on a Wednesday afternoon), so have some fun, channel your inner Caroline Stanbury or Princess Kate, and get a bit extra. I guarantee someone will be dressed more outrageously than you. Faux fur coat and Celine sunglasses indoors ? Don’t mind if I do! Don’t worry, they were removed post photo op.

Sunglasses // Faux Fur Coat (mine’s old, so I linked a similar style)

Don’t Miss Your Grand Entrance
Located right near busy Regent Street, the entrance to Sketch can be easy to miss to the untrained eye. Mysterious sculptures don the nondescript entry, and if you’re too caught up in the London people-watching you could easily walk right by. I love the whimsical “Alice in Wonderland” esque arrival, just be sure you don’t miss it!

The intriguing, non-labelled entrance, a bit more festive for Christmas.

Find Out What You Like And Order More
Yes, afternoon tea is expensive (starts at 45 pounds, depending on time of year), but luckily refills are included! The waitress kept offering my friend Riley and I more tea, sandwiches and cake, and we feared a massive bill at the end of our meal. When we found out that ordering more food and tea was included, you better believe I (a little too enthusiastically) asked for more coronation chicken, chai tea and glorified grilled cheese. You also can sub out food you don’t like (I’m not a huge smoked salmon fan) for preferred options, so don’t be afraid to make the request. The staff were very helpful and accommodating, and you should feel that you are getting your money’s worth.

I could drink gallons of their chai tea, especially out of the playful cups and pot.

Lose Any Photo Shame
Don’t pretend you booked this tea without Instagram in mind. You came to get some stylish grams, so you better embrace your inner Mario Testino and take advantage of the opportunity. I sometimes can get a bit camera-shy when I’m in public spaces, but at Sketch everyone is hoping to get those absolutely necessary pink photos to bombard social media, so you have nothing to fear. Plus, every detail is so damn photogenic! Snap away, lose any shame, and you’ll be the envy of Instagram.

Take A Bathroom Break
No, I’m not being a weirdo and reminding you to use the toilet. The bathrooms at Sketch are just a work of art that should be appreciated as much as the dining rooms. Men’s on the left and women’s on the right (it’s not labelled, and you don’t want to wander around the men’s side like I did). There are spaceship like pods, trippy lighting and even a selfie-mirror. Definitely take a tour. And said selfie.

Snoop Around
While you can easily spend hours poring over every piece of pink velvet or rose gold in The Gallery, make sure you enjoy a wander around the entire property. Each room is expertly themed and has its own cavalcade of fantastic details to enjoy. I felt like I could have spent hours more there taking in all of the delights.

 

Let me know if you make the journey to the pink palace – I can’t wait to see your photos! 

DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle links are affiliate links.

London Brunch: The Henry Root, Chelsea

After a successful first outing of the London Brunch Queens, we decided to extend our reign another weekend and sample further brunch delights throughout our kingdom. Our brunch-loving clique gained another esteemed member, my friend Eleanor, and we decided to make our way south of last week’s Notting Hill adventure to the equally chic and too-expensive-for-me-to-live-in, Chelsea. Of course, I filed away street names for when I can afford my beautiful west London flat.

Beautiful Home in Chelsea, London

We chose our destination, The Henry Root, as you choose most great restaurants, after seeing someone post a very cute photo on instagram.  As we all had a group project meeting for school later in the day,  we definitely wanted to begin the day with a decadent meal in an insta-approved setting.

Brunch in Chelsea at The Henry Root in London

The Tiffany-blue painted entrance remained steadfastly cute in the grey London rain, and the interior was equally lovely and crowned in the same bright blue. I love how more and more restaurants seem to be considering “instagram readiness” in their design, and it honestly does affect my likelihood in trying somewhere new to eat.

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Basic betches, including myself, will love the vintage Breakfast at Tiffany’s artwork.

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We arrived to an entirely empty restaurant, and while it did fill up more as our meal went on, I wouldn’t recommend this spot if you’re looking for a bustling, buzzy brunch vibe. It is perfect for a long, leisurely meal filled with conversation, as you won’t feel rushed or like you have to scream over your neighbors.

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We started with Americanos to power us through the lazy Sunday haze and quickly studied the menu. I LOVE that they serve both brunch and roast, as it’s rare to find a London restaurant that serves both at the same time. Brunch hours can also be a little strange here, as breakfast is usually stopped around noon. The Henry Root, however, appeared to have both brunch and roast all day, so they earned extra Brunch Queen points. While choosing between brunch and roast is my Sophie’s Choice, Riley quickly shamed me out of ordering meat, potatoes and gravy before 11AM, so I settled on trying my first ever shakshuka.

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The shakshuka was yummy and served piping hot (the English sometimes seem to like things lukewarm), but I did long for a bit of roast beef and a Yorkshire pudding. Maybe next time. Eleanor also had shakshuka, and Riley had fluffy scrambled eggs with toast, as he is a toast addict. We all treated ourselves and ordered extra toast with preserves because apparently we’re hobbits who eat multiple breakfasts.

After polishing our plates and ordering roughly seven Americanos a piece, we decided we’d avoided the group project work as long as possible and made our way out of The Henry Root. If you’re in Chelsea and want something more quiet, I highly recommend it for a relaxing brunch or Sunday roast. It was quite far, so I don’t know if I’ll be back super soon, unless I can be tempted with roast and massive amounts of gravy. We wandered around Chelsea for a bit, taking in the posh Christmas decorations and stopping for yet another snack, pastries and more coffee. If you want to see the rest of our Sunday adventures around London, be sure to check out my weekend vlog.

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If you want to check out The Henry Root, you can book here.

 

London Weekend Vlog – Covent Garden, Abbey Road and London Christmas

Happy Sunday, internet friends! How were your weekends? Mine was packed with schoolwork, getting festive, brunching, and as usual, eating my way through London. Since my weekends tend to be fairly busy and full of actually seeing different neighborhoods around London instead of just studying on campus, I thought I’d start vlogging more frequently and take you along with me. Twinkling with holiday lights and holly, the city is so beautiful right now with all of the Christmas decorations, so I can’t get enough of it! This vlog is literally from this very weekend (I’m procrastinating and edited it instead of doing my theory reading – oops!), so I hope you enjoy! Let me know if there are any other types of videos you’d like to see or places I should check out here in Londontown. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!