London Calling?

MadCambridgeHere is a photo from my weekend trip to Cambridge with my Mom last Spring.

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’ve been a terrible blogger as of late. I suppose life and the busy nature of University got the best of me and suddenly this blog took a place on the back burner. But enough of the excuses, let’s get to the point of this little post….Over the past few weeks I’ve been counting down the days till I would get to reconnect with my friends across the pond and now that spring break has arrived, I’m excited to let y’all know that I will be traveling back to London! I can’t wait to catch up with everyone that I got to know during this last year and I’m anxious to gain some great stories to bring back from my travels, hopefully I’ll have some entertaining ones! Looking forward to sharing this adventure with anyone who needs a break or possibly an excuse to procrastinate and have a little read of what I get up to whilst away….

Until next time,

New blog signature 2

Seaside Holiday

Brighton HeaderHere is a photograph of the pavilion on this gorgeous sunny day!

Let’s back track a little bit (or maybe A LOT) . . .  When my Mum came to visit me during Spring time in London, we decided to take a little weekend trip to Brighton to explore the coastal city and catch some rays along the beach. It was a quick and relatively inexpensive train ride from the centre of London and since the city is so walkable, finding our hotel was pretty straight forward. Luckily I had my mother with me who has a much better sense of direction, which if you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know that wasn’t a trait that was passed on to me haha. From our experience, the people in Brighton were very friendly and some even struck up a random conversation with us as we were walking to our hotel. The beach is really lovely on a sunny afternoon; however, if you are used to the sandy beaches of California, you may be surprised to find that the beach is more pebbly than anything. Being a Pacific Northwest girl this didn’t bother me at all because we’re pretty used to the rocky shoreline. After settling into our hotel, we took a stroll down the street lined with cute cafes and shops towards the Brighton pier which had the classic 1800’s seaside style. There were lots of people and luckily, the weather held up so we could enjoy a nice evening walk. I loved how vibrant the beach life was with tourists looking at the different seaside attractions, people on holiday basking in the sun, and street performers entertaining a crowd.  Continue reading

5 Things to Do in Camden

Camden Town

So you’ve found yourself in Camden eh? Now what…Well, I’m no Camden town connoisseur, but I do have a few recommedations for visiting this famous area in London. Camden is a quirky mix of public art on buildings, aromas of vendor food filling the streets and of course the locks. For all of you Seattlites reading this blog, it reminded me of Fremont, especially during the flea market on the weekends. Sure there are plenty of different markets you can frequent whist in the U.K. but a visit to London just wouldn’t be complete without seeing what all the fuss over Camden is about. It’s an easy ride on the tube or bus and you can honestly spend all day wandering around deciding what to eat and looking at the antique shops. Tube Stop: Camden Town on the Northern Line (TFL journey planner)

1. I think my number one piece of advice, at least the one I find important, is to visit on a sunny day if you can. It doesn’t get much better than getting to see the locks on a lovely afternoon. Of course if it’s the middle of autumn, the weather may be a bit fickle and in this case you can always seek warmth inside the covered part of the market, but make the most of the sunshine and take the tube or bus over to Camden!IMG_1573

2. Skip a formal meal in the city and grab lunch at the market! This is a great place to indulge in some good inexpensive food if you are on a budget like I was when I visited. There are lots of different options so if you are traveling in a group of people, everyone can pick and choose what they’re in the mood for. Be warned, if you’re as indecisive as I am you might be here for ages trying to settle on something though haha! A lot of people also like Poppies fish and chips if your craving some classic British food.

IMG_1558My travel buddy Emma on one of the many bike seats.

3. Take a ride on a motor bike! After grabbing some food, make your way over to the motorcycle seats to eat along the water. And while you’re enjoying your time on the bike feeling like a bad ass, maybe even turn on some Bound 2, you’ll feel like your right out of the music video.

4. Visit the antique shops. There are loads of neat little trinkets, clothes, old advert posters, and much more that are fun to look at. Plus, what better souvenir to bring back home with you than a unique vintage piece of London!

IMG_1543Emma by the vintage shops.IMG_1572

5. Visit the locks. Take a little stroll along the locks, especially on a sunny day. There are a few little cafes along the walkway and the walk is pretty peaceful to just enjoy the weather and have a nice chat with your friends. It also is nice after stuffing yourself full of the delicious food.

Well thats all for today everyone, but hope to see you back soon when I talk about my University experience! If you’ve visited the area before feel free to comment down below with your tips and advice.IMG_1567

Until next time,New blog signature 2

Let’s Take A Walk Down Memory “Laine”

A year in review 2A few highlights from my first semester at Uni in London. From top left: A view of London from the Tate Modern, Christmas time in the city with Lidia, eating waffles in Amsterdam, rehearsal for my dramaturgy class, New Year’s Eve with my cousin McKenna, and a final night out before the end of the semester with April.

So this post is only a month overdue . . . All that aside, now that we’ve welcomed 2014, I thought it would be a nice little reminder for me to look back on some of my favorite memories from my fall term abroad. I’ll have to admit, after having a month off of school to celebrate the holidays in the company of my Aunt, Uncle and Cousins, it was quite difficult to return to school not to mention get back in the habit of regularly blogging (as is evident by my lack of posts since the new year celebrations). Of course I had a wonderful experience during my first semester, but I was returning to University with the knowledge that so many of the close friends that I had bonded with over the previous three months would not be there to reunite with after the holiday season. While I knew that I would get to meet so many new people to share close conversation with, I’m not going to lie, returning to Uni a few days before classes started up again was a bit lonely. Don’t get me wrong, I like to have my alone time too, but through my experiences at University, both back home and abroad, I’ve learned that I’m someone who needs social interaction for the sake of my own sanity ha ha. Reflecting back on my first term arriving in London with little knowledge of what to expect and not knowing anyone, to eventually watching some of my closest friends wheel their luggage out of their flats one by one, I can truly say that I have learned so much, not only about other perspectives on life, but also about myself. My Aunt was definitely right when she told me that you connect with people in a different way when you are put in a new environment where you’re all starting over in a sense because everyone wants to make friends. You bond quickly and closely. Goodbyes have always been difficult for me, even just thinking back to the times I would part with my cousin at the airport when we were young I remember always being emotional about her departure. (Now that I’m older I’ve gotten pretty good at concealing my emotions to the public.) But with goodbyes come new and fresh beginnings which propel you to venture out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and understand more about yourself. I’ve discovered and accepted the fact that I have a hard time with transitions, something that I feel I’ve always subconsciously known about myself but tried to deny. I’ve discovered that I have a serious fear of missing out on opportunities because I won’t have the same experiences as other people to share and laugh about. I’ve discovered that I don’t really speak up for myself when something has affected me in an effort to avoid any unnecessary drama or problems, whether that is a good or bad thing I’m still  unsure of. And I’ve discovered that I need to learn how to live in the moment and not worry so much about things that have happened in the past or may happen in the future. Most importantly, I just feel incredibly lucky and grateful that I’m able to stay for another term because I will be able to connect with more people and acquire a greater sense of independence and maturity. I can’t wait to look back on this new term with fond memories and if it is anything like first semester I know I will have a lot of fun! Thank you so much to my friends both old and new and of course my family for making this experience both possible and positive, it is an adventure I will always remember!

Until next time,New blog signature 2

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like, Dare I Say Christmas?

Here’s an instrumental version of the popular song for some background music whilst you read. Enjoy!

Why hello lovely people of the blogosphere! It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down to write an update on my adventures and this post is long overdue . . . Now I know it is still November, but since the U.K doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I’ve started to get in to the Christmas spirit early this year. Luckily, I  got back from my Amsterdam trip on Friday, just in time to get to watch the Regent Street holiday lighting and fireworks over the Thames on Saturday evening (the 16th of November)! I went over to Central London with Lidia and got off of the tube near Southbank to go watch the firework show that was scheduled for 5:30 that evening. It’s still amazes me how quickly it gets dark during the wintertime here, but I suppose it isn’t much different from back home in that respect. On the walk towards the river we stumbled upon the Southbank market occupied by vendors filling the bank side with the glorious aroma of hot food off the griddle. As you have probably figured out by now if you’ve been keeping up with my blogs, I have a slight food fixation. Since I hadn’t eaten a proper lunch or dinner, I decided to pick up a kielbasa to eat on the go as Lidia had made it sound quite appealing. We made our way towards our usual coffee-house of choice located along the Thames to indulge in a cappuccino, but upon our arrival, the fireworks started going off so we postponed the java and turned our attention towards the illuminated night sky. The firework shows here seem to be really extravagant! Although I have made it a tradition to attend the fourth of July firework show over the lake back home, I have never seen something quite this grandiose. As someone who loves the holiday season, I had to make it over to Regent St. to witness the lights turn on.IMG_0464 IMG_0465 IMG_0470 IMG_0475

There were so many people on Regent St. all packed in to watch the holiday lights turn on! IMG_0494The Lights are off . . . IMG_0495 and now they are on!!!IMG_0497Fireworks to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season on Regent St.IMG_0509The row of lights down the street.IMG_1071

Each of the light arbors were themed with different days from “The Twelve Days of Christmas” which made both Lidia and I realize that we don’t know the song as well as we thought we did. Although, I am notoriously bad at singing lyrics correctly ha ha. There is something so magical about having the city lit up with decorations and tons of joyful people walking up and down the streets and I can’t wait to see what the city looks like as the holiday season approaches.

Until next time,New blog signature 2

Farewell Amsterdam!

IMG_0439Central Station at night! This was the main hub where we could catch a bus or tram back to our hostel.

Well, our trip had to come to a bittersweet end at some point, but we definitely made the most of our fourth and final day in Amsterdam. After eating a hearty breakfast at the hostel, Emily, Alex and I decided to head out to explore a different part of the city, visit the Begijnhof gardens, and eventually meet up with Christian and Katelyn later. Since we had all accomplished the touristy things on our list that we had wanted to do while visiting the city, we didn’t feel pressure to get to any sites in particular. On the way to the gardens we encountered this guy blowing bubbles in this square near a major shopping district.IMG_0408IMG_0414 IMG_0413

I always love to see what street performers and artists are doing in different cities! Of course some are more entertaining than others, but they always seem to make city life more interesting. The garden took a little while for us to find because it was situated in a residential courtyard located behind a large door in the square. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any photos in the garden, but it was neat to get to walk around such a peaceful area hidden from the main drag of shops. Next, we stopped in a small free museum exhibit at the Amsterdam Museum, which was about five minutes away from the secret garden. One of the art pieces was a carpet composed of several carpet squares corresponding to different countries around the world.

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After our brief museum visit, we headed over to Coffee Company, a local cafe chain in Amsterdam, to meet up with Christian and Katelyn and grab a cup of joe to warm up. We passed another massive square along the way that seemed to attract quite a few tourists.IMG_0427IMG_0433IMG_0432IMG_0293Of course this blog post wouldn’t be complete without a coffee picture! I sprinkled some chocolate on top of my cappuccino and it just happened to form a subtle heart shape.

Once we had all re-fueled and gotten our caffeine boost of the day, we took a tram over to another market along the canal. It was later in the afternoon, so this market wasn’t as busy as the first one we had attended, but it was nice to take a slow walk through the neighborhood. As usual, we ended up at another food place. When we saw the food truck selling frites, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try the chips in Amsterdam.IMG_0435I guess you could say we liked them ha ha. The cone of frites even came with miniature forks to eat them with!IMG_0437They were nice and crispy and weren’t overly salted.

We made it back to Central Station and stopped at a crepe restaurant for dinner. Although I was tempted to order a savory crepe, I just couldn’t resist the enticing combo of nutella, strawberries, and banana.IMG_0444A picture of Alex’s crepe. My camera died before I could snap a picture of mine.

Following dinner, we decided it would be a smart idea to pick up a few snacks for the long bus ride ahead of us back to London the next morning, so we found the nearest supermarket and made a quick pit stop before heading to the hostel. You would expect it to be just your average mundane trip to the grocery store, but oh no, no, no it definitely was much more than that! After grabbing some crisps, Alex and I went over to pick up some apple sauce near the produce and meat section. That’s when the evening got interesting . . . All of the sudden, I heard the sound of water running in the background so, being the curious person that I am, turned around only to find a middle-aged man peeing in the middle of the aisles in the supermarket!!! Alex’s and my reaction was to get the heck out of that area as soon as possible, I mean we didn’t need the yellow river making its way downstream to where we were standing. Dude, I get that you probably were drunk or on something and needed to go to the loo, but seriously you couldn’t have located the nearest restroom or at least gone out in an alley way? Come on!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVrJ8DxECbg (skip to 1:36 to see what my reaction was like) After Alex and I had evacuated the area to go check out, the guy started following us and saying something in Dutch, but we just avoided him and made our way to find the rest of our group. When one of the supermarket employees had seen the aftermath of the unfortunate event that had gone down, she asked if we could point out the guy. Luckily, Christian was able to track him down and he was taken into custody. Those poor, poor employees that had to clean up the mess though . . . All I can say is that if Cher could really “Turn  Back Time” I wish she could help erase the sight of the man urinating from my mind, which has now unfortunately been singed into my memory. It certainly makes for a crazy story to tell though, it’s not everyday that you are privy to golden showers in a supermarket. By the time all of us were done checking out as quickly as possible, we were definitely ready to go home, take a nice long shower, and relax. It was early to bed for all of us that evening because we had to be up and out of the hostel by 6:30 the next morning to catch our bus.

This time, making it to the bus was hassle-free and we made it back to the parking lot with ample time to spare. Instead of driving onto a ferry to make it over the Channel, we took a train. Here are some photos I took of that experience.IMG_0450IMG_0452IMG_0454

Well that concludes our final day in Amsterdam! I had a fabulous time visiting a new city and I look forward to someday getting to explore the Netherlands during the spring time!

Until next time,New blog signature 2

Just Your Average Day at the Apple Store

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Ever since I saw the Downton Abbey post on Facebook that there was going to be a Q&A with a couple of members of the cast at the Apple store on Regent Street, I have been awaiting the day I would have my brush with the Crawley family, and today was the day! I became addicted to the show a couple of summers ago and couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this! After class, a few of my friends here at Goldsmiths boarded the overground to make our way to central London in hopes of listening to the beautiful Michelle Dockery who plays Lady Mary, and the ever so handsome Allen Leech who plays Tom Branson, give a talk about the show. Ahh if only I could meet a lovely chauffeur like Branson to whisk me away, sorry ladies Mr. Leech is taken, but a girl can dream right? We decided to get to the store pretty early in case there was a massive line to wait in because if we made the trek over to central London we might as well try to get a decent spot to listen to the actors give their talk. When we arrived at the store, we noticed that the sign for the event stated that you had to make a reservation to get a spot for viewing, which was not specified anywhere on the Facebook notification, but being surrounded by laptops we rushed over to the nearest one to try and secure our spots! Unfortunately, when we found the page to register, the event was all full. NOOOOO . . .  was our first reaction. You mean we traveled all this way for nothing? I figured I would just explain our little situation to one of the Apple store employees and see if there was any possibility of getting into the event if people who had made a reservation didn’t show up. I mean the worst that they could say was “no, I’m sorry the event is full” right? So my friend Katelyn and I spoke with a lovely employee who reassured us that we would be able to come back in about an hour to wait in the stand-by line and at least get to stand in the back for the Q&A. In the meantime, the girls and I decided to grab a bite to eat across the street from the store and get in the stand-by line in an hour. Boy, was the store crowded though. We waited in line for nearly a half an hour and managed to edge our way towards the front, but were still pretty far back.IMG_0233

The entire event was being filmed to document the interview and so that fans could watch the Q&A online from the comfort of their home. IMG_0239Here is a camera man setting up before the actors entered the space.

Once Michelle Dockery and Allen Leech took their seats and began the interview and Q&A session, everyone was snapping pictures and trying to stand on top of the tables or squeeze their way to the front for a better view. My friend Michelle, with height on her side, managed to get a nice photo for my personal documentation!IMG_0247It was quite difficult to get a photo that wasn’t a little blurry due to the fact that the crowd and the actors kept shifting around, but this one turned out nice! You can see Allen Leech to the left and Michelle Dockery on the right.

I wanted to stay for the talk, but unfortunately from where we were standing it was really tricky to hear and understand what the actors were saying and we couldn’t actually see them very well (the zoom on my camera is responsible for the close photo) so we decided to head back home because the event was being filmed and is available online to watch. All in all, it was well worth the wait and now we all know how to make reservations for future events held at the Apple store! I can’t wait to watch the full Q&A with such inspiring actors, not to mention a couple of my favorite characters on the show.

Until next time,

Lainey xoxo