London at Night

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Welcome to the first post of travel week! We’re going to work our way backwards in time, so I’m starting with my trip to London a few months ago.

Ahhh, London, you magical city, you. I was so excited to visit London over the holidays and it did not disappoint. My family lives in the suburbs of London and we managed to make it into the city twice during my visit. The first time, we spent an evening browsing the shops in some of London’s busiest areas- Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, and Covent Garden.

I loved walking around these streets and didn’t even mind the crowds. There’s just something about being a tourist in another city, you know? We were able to see the festive lights and decorations everywhere and it was wonderful, simply wonderful.

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Where We Shopped

– Liberty London: This department store was at the top of my must-see list and it was lovely. There was a whole section for haberdashery (isn’t that an excellent word?) and fabrics, where I was able to browse through some of the beautiful fabrics that I’d only seen online. They have home goods, clothes, shoes, beauty, craft supplies, and more. There was another section just filled with Christmas supplies and I was so tempted. If we’d gone even a day or two before Christmas, I’m sure I would have bought something. Basically, it’s a store full of all the things that I like and I wanted everything. I’m really glad we were able to visit and I’m making it a point to go back there on my next trip. I’d love to see it in the daytime as well!

kikki.K: I was thrilled that we were able to make it to this stationery store. Really though, my cousin actually snapped a picture of me in the store because I was clearly overjoyed, like a kid in a candy store. I’ve coveted many kikki.K products online, but last time I checked, the shipping expenses were rather high, so I’d never bought anything. I knew I had to take advantage while I was in London since they don’t have any stores in the US yet. To top it all off, they were having a sale while we there! I managed to restrain myself somewhat and picked up some pretty gold binder clips, a notebook, a birthday card for a friend, and a beautiful copper pen.

South Kensington Books: We stumbled onto this bookstore. It wasn’t on my original list, but of course I am happy to drop into any bookstore. It’s a small shop, but they have a good selection. I’ve now started my collection of Penguin Little Black Classics, beginning with the two titles I bought at this shop: The Tinder Box by Hans Christian Andersen and Femme Fatale by Guy de Maupassant. I also bought The Muse by Jessie Burton, which has the loveliest book cover.

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What We Ate

Ben’s Cookies: My cousins asked if we wanted to stop for warm, gooey cookies and I said, “Lead the way!” As promised, the cookies were warm and fresh, and the chocolatey chunks that they use are massive. I went with my favorite, white chocolate chip macadamia nut, and it was rich and delicious.

Mod Pizza: This place is a choose your own toppings pizza bar and it’s a great deal. After a few hours of tramping around, my cousins and brother wanted some proper food. I was still rather full from my cookies and other snacks I’d eaten earlier, so I didn’t get my own pizza. I did watch as everyone built their pizzas (you can add as many toppings as you want for the same price) and sampled a couple slices. We were there later in the evening, so the place wasn’t crowded at all. It’s a relaxed, casual place and it was the perfect spot for us to rest and set down our bags before we headed back home.

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Check back tomorrow for another postcard from London!

Currently 05.

coffee, breakfast, lazy sunday, death to stock photo

I don’t know exactly why (although I wouldn’t be surprised if the recent bout of beautiful weather had something to do with it), but I’ve felt more motivated recently. I’ve noticed a pep in my step these last few days and I’ve been bitten by the blogging bug again. I want to roll along with this feeling while it lasts and take advantage of the motivation.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while and now I’m finally getting it together- I’m going to have a travel week on the blog. Starting tomorrow, I’ll recap and share recommendations from my last two trips (one in July 2016 to Seattle and Vancouver and the second to London in December 2016). I think we could all use a getaway right about now. Since I can’t jet off right this second, I’m doing the next best thing and reliving my last trips.

Before that kicks off though, I wanted to check in and give a bit of a life update. 2016 has been rough for a lot of people and so far, 2017 seems to be following in 2016’s footsteps. At the beginning of this year, I had to take a step back because everything just felt wrong wrong wrong. I stopped checking Instagram, Snapchat, and most of my usual social media haunts, except Twitter. I’d get home from work and trepidatiously open up Twitter to see what fresh horrors had happened during the day, because I wanted to stay informed. Believe me, staying informed and being aware was not one of my strong suits until last year. But now I have to pay attention, I don’t have a choice anymore. There are things going on that affect all of us as a nation, women, black women, and on the most personal level, people in my life that I care about.

It all felt extremely surreal and it continues to feel that way. I didn’t know what to say or think that I had anything important to say. I didn’t know what to do or how I could help. At the same time, I can’t ignore any of this, or pretend it’s not happening. As much as I want to curl up and hide sometimes, I can’t do that.

I’m not sure if I’m making any sense and I certainly don’t have any answers, but it’s always helped me to write about what I’m feeling. In the meantime, I’m continuing to pay attention, working on educating myself, making an effort, and trying to help in the small ways that I can. I don’t know that it’s enough, but at least it’s a start.

Now that you have a sense of how I’m currently feeling, let’s talk about some other things that have recently caught my attention. I’m currently:

Listening to Lemonade and A Seat at the Table a lot recently because they give me something hold on to when everything seems too overwhelming. At the moment though, as I type this, I’m listening to Tom Misch. His music is a great combination of upbeat and relaxed, perfect for background listening when you’re working on other things.

Watching Buffy. A few years ago, my roomie and I started to watch Buffy all the way through (I’d never watched it before), but then we trailed off somewhere around the end of season 2 or beginning of season 3. Fast forward to a month or so ago and I decided to start watching again. I couldn’t remember where we left off, so I started from the very beginning again. I’m in the middle of Season 4 now and so much is happening!

Reading The Sellout. I’ve been focusing on books by black authors for Black History Month and this is one that I’ve been meaning to read since it was first published in 2015. This book is wacky and funny and bananas, but not really that bananas in this current political and social climate.

Eating at home more often. This month, I’ve been trying not to eat out at all (except for last weekend when I was in Philly. I gave myself a pass for that weekend since I knew I’d be out and about with my friends). I’ve been pretty good about making my lunches for the last couple of years, but this month, I’ve been cooking more often so that I could eat better, home-cooked meals for lunch and dinner, and to cut back on spending. It’s been a bit of an adjustment, but I think it’s a step in the right direction. I’ve been getting groceries every week now, instead of every two weeks, and I like trying new recipes. I think I’ve also cut down my food expenses, which was the main goal, but I still have to check exactly what the difference is.

I think that’s it from me for now (until tomorrow)! In the meantime, let’s chat in the comments below- what’s going on in your life at the moment?

(image via Death to Stock Photo)