Harry Potter, Hogwarts and My Family

My little sister is a huge Harry Potter fan so for her birthday I organised a family day out at Warner Bros. Studios. Obviously being ridiculous, I had to dress up in house colours – though I’m still not sure I’m 100% Gryffindor.

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We packed our lunches and headed down the motorway to Watford. First off, my mum and I ran over to the costumes from Fantastic Beasts. The detail in them was just so intricate.

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Feeling excited, we lined up for our time slot with our tickets in hand…

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All in all, we spent over five hours strolling around and taking in everything  Рit was so good! We were totally exhausted so we decided to go out for waffles and milkshakes in St Albans. A perfect end to a wonderful day!

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Half Term Shenanigans In London

Normally during half term, I am up to my ears in report-writing so I tend to make sure it’s a quiet week. However after several weeks involving some very late nights, my year group partner and I managed to get the job done early. Feeling a lot less stressed, I thought I should do something with my time so I planned a few things in London.

Soho with Sarah

Sarah and I work closely together and, as both of us were killing time before meeting other people, we decided to hang out in the city. She makes the best cakes and enjoys new things so I felt I should take her to some spots I knew she’d like.

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We walked miles, browsing everything from macarons to antique tiaras. For lunch, we popped into L’Eto – a cafe that does the best tea ever. A little later on, we headed to Sketch because even if it’s just a cuppa you have there, it’s still an experience. A great start to the day.

Camden with Jennifer

Jennifer and I had this evening planned for a couple of months. As we’re both quite busy, we try to make sure that we have a brilliant time when we do see each other. We met up in Covent Garden, had a few killer margaritas and then moved on to Camden.

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Apart from always enjoying each other’s company, The Cocoa Butter Club was the main reason for our meet-up. I’d heard about it on Instagram and thought it’d be worth a visit. It takes place on the last Thursday of each month and showcases performers of colour. After munching some quesadillas, we got to Her Upstairs in time to find a seat and sink some prosecco. We were lucky enough to experience four fantastic performers – it was great! The atmosphere was incredibly warm and friendly; there was a lot of love in the room. If you do get the chance to go, I highly recommend it!

Oxford Circus with Kelly

Feeling somewhat hungover, I started the day with solo brunch at the beautiful and yummy Cafe Miami. After that, I went to meet with Kelly to explore an exhibition at The Photographer’s Gallery.

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At the gallery, we took in the Under Cover and Grayson Perry exhibition, as well as interacting with the #floofyourself installation by Soofiya. Finally, we grabbed some killer ice cream at our new favourite Chin Chin Ice Cream before heading home.

All I can really say is that it was an awesome little getaway with some fabulous people in an ever surprising city.

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Fashion And the Future At The V&A

The V&A (The Victoria and Albert Museum) is one of my favourite places to visit. I tend to visit fashion exhibitions but there is a world of other wonders to explore there too. Over the past two weekends, I experienced two temporary exhibitions – both quite different from each other and both definitely worth seeing.

The Future Starts Here

Fro data usage to socialising, this exhibition sought to answer several questions about the future. As a huge sci-fi fan and someone who is quite apprehensive about the future, I knew I had to go. Also as it was my other half’s birthday, I knew it’d be something we’d both get into. We spent a good two hours find out about the good, the bad and the ugly of the future.

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Having been to a couple of sci-fi/future-focused exhibitions, I was expecting to leave feeling highly anxious and pessimistic. To be fair, there was an element of that but there was a great deal of positivity too. We saw how technology can be used for good: helping refugees, giving people a voice, making the world more accessible, etc. When we were walking up the stairs, we got talking to an American techie who was not feeling as uplifted – he was fearful of how everything would be used and the type of people who’d have access to it. Technology in itself is neither good nor evil; it is the creator and the¬† user who can manipulate it. It is the creator and the user we have to be wary of.

Fashioned From Nature

I took my mum and my sister along for this one. Normally, I go with just mum for fashion exhibitions but this one involved a lot of information on materials and, as my sister is a crafter, it seemed perfect for her. The exhibition looked at the links between fashion and nature through history, exploring the impact on society and the environment.

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On the whole, we found it quite a heavy exhibition. From slavery to poisoning water supplies, it’s quite disturbing how negative an impact the fashion industry has had on the environment and society. The three of us had to take a step back to consider what we do and what we should do to end this negative cycle. Although there were some incredibly beautiful pieces, seeing the pain that it took to make some of them left a a bitter taste. There were positives to take away too though – there are new campaigns, initiatives and technologies out there to move fashion forward in a more sustainable and beneficial manner.

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If you do have the time, go see these exhibitions before they close!

Exploring The Bay Area: A Photo Story

Day 1: Ice cream, ramen and drag.

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Day 2: The Pork Store, Haight and Ashbury, Relic Vintage and The Ice Cream Bar.

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Day 3: Ferry Building, Musee Mecanique, cable cars and Mission.

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Day 4: Long coastal walk, Golden Gate windmills and the best grilled cheese ever.

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Day 5: Conservatory of Flowers, botanical gardens, Ethiopian food and taiyaki.

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Day 6: Bette’s Diner, Cheeseboard, ridiculous rain and anniversary dinner.

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Day 7: Vegan brunch, cat cafe, trans rock opera, Mexican food and catching up.

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Day 8: Berkley again, bookstores and Little Giant Ice Cream.

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Day 9: Oakland, brunch, spice shop, Cookiebar ice cream and graffiti.

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This was my third trip to the Bay Area and I still haven’t visited half of it. It’s one of my favourite places in the world and I always feel so welcome. Remember there is so much to see outside of San Francisco – so go and explore!

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Drag Nights #2: Nightgowns

In January, I went to my first ever drag show, you can read about it here. I loved it to say the least. On holiday in the Bay area, I caught another show at a club in Castro (though I didn’t document it that well sadly). When my friend Kelly suggested we go to the UK premiere performance of Sasha Velour’s Nightgowns, I just couldn’t say no. She a fellow lover of drag and it would be too good an opportunity to pass up.

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It was a scorcher of a day so I slung on this dress from Collectif and trotted off to meet Kelly. We started off with bibimbap in Soho – maybe not the best idea for a hot day but so good! We then cooled off with a fabulous (if not slightly messy) ice cream from Chin Chin.

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After a little wait in the sun, we found our seats at The Grand in Clapham. It was a beautiful space indeed and we were so excited!

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Olive D’Nightlife

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Sasha Velour

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Vander Von Odd

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Anna Phylactic

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Meth

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Virgin Xtravaganzah

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Victoria Sin

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Joe Black

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Neon Calypso

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Untitled Queen

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We came away from the show just full of joy. I’d seen so many queens I’d never seen before and I’m so glad I did. Throughout the performances, we laughed, cried, boogied, sang and held hands. A truly wonderful drag experience.

Art Installations And Afternoon Tea With Cats

Yay! The weather’s warmed up and it’s actually sunny – on a bank holiday too. A few months ago, we’d started to plan what we’d get up to this weekend and finally it was here. Both of us have had full-on weeks at work so some downtime was needed.

As I knew we were heading to a cat cafe, I wore my only cat-print piece of clothing with a top from Lady K Loves.

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Our first stop was Housmans bookshop in King’s Cross. I follow an artist called Soofiya on Instagram. I first heard about them at Burnt Roti’s ‘Beauty Of Being British Asian’ exhibition – you can read more about it here. They’d created a zine called ‘Auntie Fatima’ and I was desperate to pick it up. I fell in love with Housmans – I could have blown my entire bank account in there. If you get the chance to visit please do – their children’s section is awesome too.

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Next on our list was ‘Sense Of Space’ at Broadgate. It’s an art installation designed to activate your senses and challenge your sensory perceptions through art. On such a beautiful day, it was tempting just to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine. Each room definitely made you feel something different. Our favourite room was The Infinite Garden – not only was it visually beautiful but you felt like you could lose yourself in there. The installation is free to view until May 18th so you can see what it’s like for yourself.

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After a stroll through the graffiti-covered side streets of Shoreditch, we were ready for afternoon tea at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium. My other half’s mum arranged it as our Christmas gift this year – such a lovely idea. Nick adores cats so this was perfect for him. Afternoon tea surrounded by roaming cats sounds a little odd but you get used to it quite quickly. Savouries included mini-baguettes filled with tuna or egg mayo, cheese scones and jalapeno cornbread. Then, we moved on to scones with raspberry or strawberry jam. Finally, we got on to the cakes – a mixture of quite yummy patisserie. After we munched, we spent some time petting kitties, feeling very content.

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It was a simply wonderful day – good company, perfect weather and memorable experiences. What more could you want?

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Out And About In April

Since I’ve been back from my holiday, I’ve had quite a few mini-adventures out and about in London. I thought I’d share a few in this blog post. Be aware – there will be lots of yummy things!

Mooching in Spitalfields with Kelly

I met up with Kelly, mainly to give her some things I picked up in the US, but we ended up having such a fab day. We started off some vegan desserts at Cookies & Scream, followed by a video call shopping spree with Rhina – surreal and so much fun! We then wandered over to Liverpool Street to mooch around Brick Lane and Spitalfields. I tried on some bits in Collectif and then we went to pick up bagels to take home. We were starving after all this and ended up munching some messy but tasty naan wraps. Dessert came in the form of milkshakes at The Diner. We left very happy indeed.

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Ice Cream and Burgers with Becky

We had a strange week-long heatwave this month so Becky and I got our summer dresses out for a foodie day. We explored Camden and hit our first stop – Chin Chin Ice Cream. It was nothing less than dessert perfection in every way. Perfect portion size and not sickly, it was a great combination of burnt butter caramel ice cream, toffee sauce and sticky toffee sponge – yum yum. We then hopped on the tube to Victoria… I might have lost Becky for a little bit. We found each other again at Victoria and went to try out Bleecker Burger. Though it was a perfectly acceptable meal, it wasn’t anything to write home about sadly. Feeling a bit rough from the heat, we headed home to slouch on our respective sofas.

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Exploring South West London with Nick and Sam

Yesterday, Nick and I headed to Brixton to meet up with my old uni friend Sam. Feeling a little worse for wear after a previous late night, coffee was sorely needed. Federation do a mean filter and a shared portion of spiced avocado toast made me feel so much better. After meeting Sam, we strolled round Brixton before sitting down for lunch at The Joint. The Joint had been recommended to me by Notsobasiclondon and boy, it did not disappoint. We had pulled pork burgers, onion rings, sweet potato fries and mac and cheese bites. It was seriously good. Sam then took us to Streatham for coffee and dessert at Blackbird Bakery. I had home-made plum tart and ice cream and was a very happy bunny. Finally, we headed to Tooting Broadway to explore the markets – unfortunately we were far too full to try anything else! We ended up having a few drinks before travelling home. I’d definitely be happy to repeat this day out.

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If you’ve got any recommendations for exploring different areas of the UK or London, please let me know – I’m always looking for new things to do!

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