(Ted Baker coat and dress, Nissa earrings, Louis Vuitton shoes)
That was the name of my high school English textbook: English, my love. And it really was “english, my love”- I have never excelled in exact sciences, but Romanian, and especially English have always been my favourite classes during my school years. Possibly contributing to this could have also been the hundreds of minutes spent in front of Cartoon Network in the 90’s, when there were no subtitles or voice overs, so we were “forced”, me and other kids from my generation, to understand and remember words from a language so far from our own Romanian. And it did us well! English was already my love when I started school. I don’t remember making a difference between British and American English, but it only took a few cassette tapes for me to figure out on which side I am. And in fact, I think that the British accent and their clean/ correct/ adequate/even elegant language are what I like most about the United Kingdom. I’ve only ever twice been on the island (both times in London- see the two travel vlogs I posted on my Youtube channel), more than enough for me to add the capital of England to my top favourite cities in Europe. And as if their accent was not enough:
1. London is where most Harry Potter movies were filmed. It is a well known fact, the books of my childhood (and many others like me), even though were written in Edinburgh, were filmed in London. The scene from platform 9 ¾, where Harry and his friends would travel to catch the Hogwarts Express? It’s filmed in London’s King’s Cross station. Diagon Alley, Gringotts central bank, the Ministry of Magic or the Black family house are just a few of the Londonese Harry Potter locations which can be visited today. I am still waiting for my Hogwarts letter, just so you know.
I haven’t explored the whole city (so my opinion might not be 100% accurate), but this neighbourhood is truly particular: colorful houses, restless cafes and restaurants, lots of shops and the Victoria & Albert museum nearby. It’s lovely just to walk around the streets of Chelsea (you take a stroll and you go home, the neighbourhood being the most expensive of London – a modest house selling for something between 8 and 12 million pounds; practically “free”), but the museum brings me to my next point:
3. Upon my second visit I have attempted to check out as many London museums as possible (I’ve enjoyed the Natural History Museum and the aforementioned Victoria & Albert), and what is best is that most of them are free-entry. And when I say most of them, I mean the majority – London has lots of museums to offer, you just need time. ?
4. Cliché or not ( I have recently seen that we now have the red telephone boxes, just like the british ones, in Sinaia, Romania), I am fascinated by what is known as a symbol of the British capital: from their telephone boxes (where you muuuuust take a photo if you ever find yourself around) to their black cabs and the main “stars” of the city – the Big Ben, the London Eye on the banks of the river Thames, the London Bridge or the Buckingham Palace.
5. And since we’re talking about Buckingham, the royal family lives there. A modest building for some modest humans: the british monarchy. The subject is too vast to be covered here but we are talking about some sort of British Hollywood, at least as popular as the stars of the American cinema (if not more popular).
Daydreaming, I wonder what a day in their shoes would be like ( if I were to be allowed to eat a shawarma from Dristor- most likely not).
6. I try to control myself as much as I can but we always end up here: shopping. Loooots of shopping. Selfridges and Harrods are the most popular shops, I believe. I went into Selfridges and didn’t want to leave. It’s a special experience altogether (just as we’ve seen in the show with the same name) but you need to visit in order to truly feel it. It’s nice even just having a look, you don’t really have to buy anything (if you can…).
I really liked Portobello Market as well, one of the biggest markets I’ve seen (if not the biggest). I went straight for the antiques and vintage, where, by the grace of God, you can find anything. Including food, souvenirs, antiques, new stuff, music and so on, including an interesting mix of cultures, new and old. Quite awesome!
Sir Ted Baker is also British, the guy who created the fabulous dress I’m wearing in these pictures (you can also find it in pink in the Collective store from AFI Cotroceni). And what better way to accessorise than with another typical British symbol: tea.
I am inserting here point 7, referring something that I consider to be the ultimate culinary symbol of the British culture. Leave the fish and chips aside, the tea is what matters!
The 5 o clock tea, which AFI Cotroceni is giving you the chance to try for yourself, during October, right at its core, in London, for a few days (can you imagine how much tea you could try?!).
“The new collections are waiting to dress you up” is the name of their new autumn campaign, during which any purchase of a minimum 300 lei (added on maximum 3 receipts) automatically sign you up in the race for a city break in one of the fashion capitals: London/ Paris / Milan (you could substitute tea for croissants or gelato, in case you don’t like my tea ramblings). The contest goes on until the 31st of October and, I promise you, from my experience (I went, tested and tried) that you can find outfits for every kind of going outs. Even for tea with miss Middleton.
I, for one, am sticking to lime bush tea on the banks of Dâmbovița, for now.