chelsea boots

Growling Around Borough

DSC_0480

I live in an area called Southwark. For those of us who aren’t British, it is counter-intuitively pronounced “Suth-uck,” rather than “South-wark.” Historically, it was the theatre, gambling, and prostitution epicenter of Central London. While such activity wasn’t permitted under the Queen’s watchful eye, her visual impairment kicked in right around the bank of the Thames, making anything that went on South of its shore virtually unchecked (this is also because Southwark was not part of London proper, making it a separate jurisdiction). The City of London was particularly suspicious and subsequently, unkind, to theatrical groups within its limits, leading to a large theatrical community in Southwark, where they claimed to “practice” in order to perform for the Queen. Today, it’s where you will find the rebuilt Globe Theater, although the gambling and prostitutes have relocated (hopefully). Between the Globe and the installation of the Tate Modern Art Museum, its become a popular area that hosts lovely walks down the Southbank, and scenic views of St. Pauls.

DSC_0505

This man is pointing at Southwark from the Millenium Bridge.

However, before you get to St. Pauls, you have to cross over London Bridge (possibly one of the most boring bridges in London, despite its widespread musical acclaim). And before you reach London Bridge, you encounter a sudden wall of delicious smells cascading from the left side of the street. That pantheon of flavors is none other than Borough Market. Borough Market is the next step up from a farmers market, selling all sorts of fresh produce, meats, and cheeses, in addition to a delicious selection of tempting takeaways.

DSC_0470

I sampled the salt pork, which I was informed was an “American dish” via Boston.

One thing I didn’t realize upon visiting Borough Market is that unlike the farmer’s markets I’m used to back home, people don’t really shops here for their groceries. That isn’t to say no one does, but Borough Market today is a bit of a tourist destination, which has driven prices from the mom and pop tomato stand fares you’d expect to those recognizable in the rest of central London. If you decide to take a visit yourself out-valuing Tesco will not be on the schedule. However, it’s fun to just walk around, and take in the selection, of well, everything.

DSC_0462

DSC_0476

Verdant Inner-City Seating

As should be no surprise to those who know me, with a universe of food staring me in the face, while there, I decided to splurge on a coffee. However, this coffee had a recommendation, namely a line spanning out the door (and I’m told, on weekends, well around the block). The brand is Monmouth. Founded in 1978 in Covent Garden (on Monmouth Street), they have grown into three stores that seem to have a cult following. A yuppie playground, Monmouth is not coffee for the weak; if you are prone to headaches, this is not your brew. If you want to stay up half the night doing work to the background of warm, rich flavour this is where to get your beans.

DSC_0455

Just in from The Clothesline: A Real British Queue.

To the sartorial: have you ever seen something that was so crazy that you secretly wanted it (for no rational reason), but told yourself you could never pull it off? That was my relationship with my lion skirt. When I saw it in H&M, it’s combination of quilting and lion heads, I demurely put it back on the rack where it belonged. Undaunted, I returned to best this beast, and here is my interpretation, if you can think of a better way to sport it, let me know below. I’m definitely up for suggestions.

DSC_0461

Outfit Details:
Choker: H&M
Leather Jacket: H&M
Skirt: H&M
Belt: Thrifted
Satchel: Fossil (this is the only purse I brought over, but be on the lookout soon for some diversity, and the newest addition to my closet!)

DSC_0468

London Calling!! Chelsea boots in Chelsea.

IMG_0305

This post marks the first of my new European, though decidedly British, adventures (rather pathetic, I know considering, as of today I’ve been in school an entire month). Nevertheless, worse things happen at sea. And from here on out, I promise not to ruin any more National Gallery side shots. The week I arrived, I was lucky enough to share my “holiday” with my father and sister. We quickly found that we particularly enjoyed the Notting Hill and Kensington area. Of course, whether or not this sentiment revolves around a certain literary figure’s rendering, it is not a very profound one, as the price tags in the area suggest. Daddy found it particularly peaceful walking through the lines of white houses (each accompanied by well-placed trees).

DSC_0286Though everyone seemed to warn us otherwise, I can’t help but love Portabello Road. It’s the source of my tea kettle, opera glasses, meerschaum pipe, crochet parasol, and tweed deerstalker. It was on this road of all places, Daddy discovered the wonder of Tesco (a British value-chain grocery store), and had a minor Baptist revival in the drink aisle when he saw prices listed in pence. All the sudden, his generosity was unbounded: “Girls, you can have anything you want for lunch from this store.”

DSC_0312

However, I made us trek onwards to the fabulously eccentric and oh-so-endearing, sinus threat of the century: The Churchill Arms. Covert Thai restaurant extrordinaire. The decor in this place ranges from walls coated with the royal family to bunting and lanyards (and bunting as lanyards) across the ceiling. While I am hardly a Thai food connoisseur, I have always enjoyed theirs and would definitely recommend it if you’re hungry and in the area.

From there, we walked to Kensington Gardens (and subsequently through Green Park and St. James Park, which are connected) in hopes of “walking off our lunch.” While we may not have been successful on that account, we did manage to secure some gorgeous weather (at first). This being Britain, the mere dawning of a new hour brought with it several poignant changes in the moisture level.

DSC_0365

The Albert Memorial

DSC_0358

The Italian Gardens

The area around South Kensington backs up to another area called “Chelsea,” named such because it is next to the Chelsea Bridge (or so wikipedia says). The Chelsea area encompasses a little bus stop named Sloane Square, and if you walk there, you will find nearly any upscale clothier you may hope to peruse. Chelsea is touched on its other side by Knightsbridge, probably most noted by foreigners for being the home of Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Between Kate living in the area and the Queen shopping there, you can guess it’s pretty nice.

The sidewalks are nice; the stores are nice. The people dress nice (though they are mostly sheathed in black), but there’s an unusually high number of inhabitants that wear flat ankle boots. I couldn’t tell you why this is la mode. Still, accepting that it is, these sort of boots are colloquially known as “Chelsea boots.” Before I found out this sliver of information, I fell in love with the Tommy Hilfiger ones I’m wearing in the picture below. Say hello to my shiny new Christmas gift y’all!

DSC_0341

The Boots. The Boy.

Besides the boots, I’m wearing:

Sunglasses: Chloe (you’ve seen before)
Necklace: Native American Gallery here
Shirt/ Dress: American Apparel
Trench: Tommy Hilfiger
“Trousers”: The Row
Satchel: Fossil

DSC_0290

It was so fun having my Dad and sister along! It really made for a joyous and entertaining vacation.

DSC_0311