Goodbye, old England! The memories I made on this trip will remain as sentimental and nostalgic to me as an aged bird woman on the steps of St. Paul’s, reminding us that sometimes the frivolous expenses turn out to be the most meaningful. I have been blessed by this trip and the opportunities it has presented. Thank you for reading along and sharing those adventures with me. ❤ Outfit Details: Hat: vintage from Venice (shown here, Sweater: GAP, Jacket: Barbour, Scarf: Pashmina (bought off the street in New York), Skirt: vintage, Tights: H&M, Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger, Bag: Ba&sh
Christmas at Somerset House is absolutely beautiful! Fortnum and Mason sponsors a huge ice skating rink and puts up a huge tree complete with F&M baskets. The sign up says “SKATE” and that is exactly what we did, but not without some trouble. The rink is packed to capacity- so for those of us trying our ice legs after a few stagnant winters, this isn’t the place to learn (though they do keep a little training area off to the side if you are desperate). You are often tripped or tussled by other uncertain skaters or self-proclaimed experts (you can imagine me wagging my fist at the show-offs). But even if you can’t skate, it’s worth stopping by to see the spectacle. With the giant tree and the rink there, it’s the perfect catalyst for Christmas cheer. Outfit Details: Hat: Joy (in stores now) | Sweater: Helmut Lang | Jacket: Barbour Wax | Jeans: Acne | Socks & Gloves: Primark | Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger | Necklace: old | Bag: Kate Spade
I am so happy I went to Budapest. At the time, I felt like exams should take precedent and that I was wasting valuable study time. Now, as I write this, I still feel in awe of that beautiful city. We began the morning at the Szépmûvészeti Múzeum (Museum of Fine Arts) in Pest. However, before we got to adventure over to the Varosliget Castle, we whisked ourselves away to the marketplace. Before my trip, the only thing I had heard about Budapest was the quality of the marketplace. As it closed at 3:00 (and we had a late start), I didn’t want to take any chances. It was well worth the talk. It had all the groceries, souvenirs, and traditional food I could have wanted in one place (I tried langos- the nearest fried thing, like a good Southerner). Because we were so close to the bridge, we went ahead and walked over it, visited the fascinating cave church (a quick Hungarian history lesson), and then climbed up to the liberty statue. Once back down the hill, we went over to get a daylight look at Parliament (sadly missing the last tour by minutes).
Between Friday and Saturday, I spent so long walking around and were so cold that I decided to take a nice long coffee break and watch the sun go down over Parliament. Then, rejuvenated, I decided we should go to see at least one bath while in Budapest. Budapest is famous for its baths since hot springs flow through the rocks under the city. The waters are said to be very medicinal (though they looked quite normal to me. Next time I will probably pony up the money to swim at Szechenyi, but since I didn’t even have my swimsuit, the bath included in the Budapest city card did the trick. From there, I went to back to Varosliget Castle (which offered an ice skating rink beside it for the season) and explored it by night. It reminded me of the beginning music of Beauty and the Beast. On that account, I made sure not to get too close to any windows, as who knew what might lay inside…
Outfit Details: Hat: Brixton | Shirt: Chloe | Blazer: H&M | Skirt: made myself with my sewing machine | Socks: Primark | Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger | Kate Spade
Two quick things:
1. Neon orange stuck out like a sore thumb in Budapest. It worked well in that my friend could find me, but I did not look like a local.
2. For anyone travelling to Budapest in November, regardless of the fact Hungary looks like it is southern of England on a map, you can expect similar weather. In other words, a blazer on its own is not going to cut it. Bring a scarf! gloves! heavy coat!
The cheapest flight you can find in Europe to Hungary is most likely Hungarian-based Wizz Air. This was my second time flying Wizz Air, and I haven’t had any complaints either time about the flight itself, but this time, as I was perusing the baggage page (cheaper flights are always crafty in how the term things, so as to charge the unwary), I realized that a regular piece of cabin baggage would cost me an extra 14 pounds (both ways). Challenge accepted. I decided I would fit all of my clothes (and laptop) for my 2 and a half day trip into this Kate Spade bag, which would fit neatly under the seat.
St. Stephen’s Basilica* was absolutely stunning. I would definitely count it among the top 5 churches I’ve ever visited. An added easter egg is the trek to the top, a journey well worth the roughly two dollars I paid. Turns out, the sun sets at like 3:30/ 4:00 at this time of year in Hungary, so about the time we went up, the entire city donned a dusky glow that made this gothic city even more Romantic-looking.
I think that I almost had a heart attack when I crossed the Chain Bridge and saw a real live funicular. Clearly after seeing the Grand Budapest Hotel, I had some silent expectations I couldn’t begin to hope were real (probably beginning with a funicular). Our compartment was named Margit and she was a gem!
*Even though this post is named Buda, St. Stephen’s is actually in Pest. Shared to The Fashion Canvas.
“I used to pretend I was someone quite mysterious and fascinating. Then I grew up and realized I was mysterious and fascinating'” –Sally Bowles
If it wasn’t clear from my last post, I tend to relate to new places, people, and things from familiar characters and stories. Berlin, of course, would be no different, and yet, with all the mystery and legend surrounding the wall, it’s become almost a character in itself. Still, I don’t think any self-respecting musical theatre enthusiast can approach Berlin without hearing in their head that whispered beckoning from the back of a seedy dance hall (or outdoor brick structure): Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome.
After accidentally booking a hostel for the wrong date twice, I ended up staying on what I later realized was the East Side of Berlin, about a fourth of a mile from the East Side Gallery. The location was great and convenient for our purposes, but the whole time I was there, I couldn’t help but feel a bit displaced by the fact that a mere 25 years ago, the place I was staying would have been completely inaccessible to me. While I realize that my impressions don’t add anything fresh to long discussion; overall I was just impressed by how arbitrary the divide seemed, watching as cyclists streamed down what would have been an abruptly ending road (Fremde, etranger, stranger).
Moreso than other cities, it is difficult to escape history in Berlin. With every tattered building, it stares you in the face, but the city’s vibrance almost subdues the ghosts. The art scene is tremendous, and it seems like start-ups are blooming around every corner. I’m not sure whether it’s a joke, but I heard that all you need to move to Berlin as a young person is a camera. They offer a special visa for artists. Bliebe, reste, stay. Like I said, I don’t know if it’s true, but we certainly saw a lot of art, but of all the displays, I liked none better than the china room in the Charlottenburg Palace. This room was fabulous. The attention to detail was extraordinary, and for some reason the designer felt the need to play with the border between the wall and ceiling to the point that a deer was sticking out of the wall (I kid you not!).
What I wore:
Dress: French Connection
Tights: old (I can’t remember the brand)
Socks: stolen from my Dad ❤
Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger
Clutch/ Wallet: Fossil
and introducing… my new coat (which I bought there on a splurge): TALLY WEiJL
Gluklich zu sehen, je suis enchante, Happy to see you!
Shared to What I Wore
In all my time at Oxford two years ago, somehow I never got out to nearby Woodstock to visit Blenheim Palace. Honestly, I think it was because I got the idea that it was a big picnic area next to a house in the middle of nowhere (ergo, not worth the bus ride and 18 pound entry fee). I was, in a word, incorrect. While there are ample grounds one might fancy picnic-ing on and while it is in the middle of nowhere, even the most understated could hardly call Blenheim a house.
Granted by Queen Anne to the Duke of Marlborough, Blenheim Palace was built to memorialize (wait for it) the Battle of Blenheim (the Duke’s famous victory in the War of Spanish Succession. Over the next hundred years, its interiors were gradually stripped as subsequent heirs squandered the fortune, and it looked quite different (on the inside) from its former standing when a young Winston Churchill came to reside there (on his holidays from boarding school).
While I was surprised to learn of Churchill’s aristocratic roots (even though a John Churchill was the name of the Duke of Marlborough, so it probably should have been more intuitive), I was not particularly surprised that such a big personality would be raised somewhere so grand in scale– it also gave new meaning to the background behind his tomes on English military history (since he was virtually living in their mausoleum). Judging by the grounds and gardens, he also had plenty of absolutely stunning places to sit back and write. There are a few more pictures than usual in this collection, but it was all so stunning, I didn’t want to omit anything!
Upon planning our palace visit, I wanted to make sure that I really felt the part. Conveniently, I had also never tried Laduree macaroons. In a thoroughly undignified manner, I proceeded to tote no less than 10 macaroons to Blenhiem (don’t worry, I shared). It was so lovely eating the height of French patisserie while casually lounging in the gardens. Did a few of the stray garbled crumbs intermingle the tastes? Sure (but that’s just more macaroon). This leads me to a little unsolicited travel advice: if you want for something to feel a certain way and you have a certain idea in your head, create that ambiance, and your memories are more likely to reflect the intent of your efforts. This is not to say you should go crazy with the Breton stripe in Paris, but if everything is better with ice cream, give yourself the ice cream (or macaroon, or truffle, or eclair, insert sweet thing here)!
These are not very helpful at all, but I’ll include them, nevertheless.
Scarf (shown in first picture): Estate Sale Treasure ($1.00)
Blazer: Estate Sale ($9.00)
Blouse: Talbots (hand-me-down)
Green Suit Separate Pants: Antonio Melani
Satchel: Fossil (ebay)
Boots: Tommy Hilfiger (S/S: 2014)
I go into this detail as a reminder that it’s not how much you pay, but how you wear it that determines whether or not you look palatial!
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).
Though 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.”
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.
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!
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
It was so fun having my Dad and sister along! It really made for a joyous and entertaining vacation.