Cookies and Scream, Vegan Dream

For those of you who think that being a vegan is no fun, think again. Believe it or not, these delicious treats are all milk, egg and wheat free (yes I’m talking to you too gluten free folks), and best of all they taste just as amazing as they look.

You can find these (and plenty more) hidden away at Cookies and Scream in Camden Lock Market, London.

From peanut butter and jelly cookies to marshmallow brownie goodies (ask the staff to warm these up), you won’t be a able to tell the difference between these babies and any other baked goods, well except that these taste sooo much better!

Oh and did I mention that they also do vegan milkshakes?… Yep.

Go check them out at Camden Lock Market, last orders are at 17:30 so get there quick and nab yourself some vegan friendly treats! For further details click here. Enjoy!

Spring is here!

Spring has definitely come to London and with the cherry blossom blooming, I decided to step away from the books and head out into the sunshine.

Of course my little walk had to include some architecture/educational element 😉

This is St. Mark’s in Primrose Hill. It looks like a little chapel on the outside but is quite spacious inside. The local community host regular classical music concerts here, and there is a beautiful eighteenth-century Italian organ inside. I like.

St Mark's Church, Primrose Hill

St Mark’s Church, Primrose Hill

St Mark's Church, Primrose Hill

St Mark’s Church, Primrose Hill

 

The Lion of St. Mark

The Lion of St. Mark

This picture takes me back to Venice, with its Lion of St. Mark symbolism scattered all over the city.

Lotta from Stockholm

Lotta from Stockholm

Sun’s out and so are the toes. Ripped jeans and Lotta from Stockholm’s Swedish clogs.

Pastel Primrose Hill

Pastel Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill becomes a world of its own in the Spring with its paint pastel houses. Regent’s Park Road is probably one of my favorite streets in London. Often walk towards Regents Park daydreaming, in another world where I’m a millionaire, which one of these houses would I call my own?

Juliette Balcony

Juliette Balcony

Walking down Chalk Farm road, towards Camden Market from Chalk Farm, on my right was Harmood Road. What might appear to be just another street, in another town, happens to be a lovely little road with probably one of the best second hand bookshops I have seen in London. These guys have a phenomenal selection of second hand Philosophy books from Socrates, to Descartes, Aquinas and Kant. They also have impressive poetry, fiction and arts sections. I got myself a copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy (seeing as my tutor has mentioned it on numerous occasions now). Don’t go anywhere else, come here!

Walden Books

Walden Books

 

 

Check out Walden Books here

Lotta from Stockholm here  (In serious need of a third pair…)

 

Why I always choose AirBnB over hotel rooms

Airbnb

Most of us aren’t quite fortunate enough to stay in five star luxury hotels. The cheaper alternative surely then is booking with Airbnb…

Airbnb is a virtual space in which hosts can advertise their spare rooms/studios/entire apartments or houses to travellers across the globe. The company started off small but now have an international following of hosts and guests, a community of like minded people who would pick staying among the locals over a centrally located hotel any day.

So how does it all work? The host posts a space on the Airbnb website, with pictures. Guests select their preferences using the search engine by price, size, location and appearance, contact the host, arrange suitable dates and time, book and pay. Simple as 1,2,3.

I have been using Airbnb for the past couple of years and since I started I haven’t looked at another cheap hotel room. Here’s why:

 

1. I can select the exact location that I want to stay in

Whether I want to wake up at the foot of Montmartre, opposite the Colosseum or a brisk walk away from the Empire State Building I have that choice. Most hotels are based around the centre of town or near busy train stations which makes it noisy and expensive (which I will get to in my next point). I’d much rather be settled in a communal area where I can have my morning coffee in a local cafe or have a glass of wine in a bar locals head to after work.

 

2. Price

It is much cheaper to rent through Airbnb. This summer I rented an entire studio apartment a stone’s throw from the Sacre Coeur with a friend. The cost… something along the lines of £15 ($25) per night for an apartment in which we had our own space and privacy with a kitchen where we could cook our own dinner (which really helped to save on eating out).

 

3. Host

How nice it is to have flexible check in and out times, not having to wait or rush and to have a host who’s prepared an itinerary for you. In Copenhagen I was very kindly given guide books, a map and some really good advice on what to do and what to not bother wasting my time with. My host understood my passion for architecture and instead of suggesting Contemporary Art galleries or designer shops he pointed me towards vintage markets and churches, neat.

 

4. Honesty

No more false advertising only to find that my hotel room has cockroaches, no windows or a broken shower. Hotels can put you in any room they want to, not necessarily the one you looked at on their website. With Airbnb you get what you pick. Reviews by previous guests also helped in the selection process. If you don’t like the reviews, you don’t book.

 

5. Little treats

Hosts always provide little treats, it is sooooo nice to turn up to chocolates, cheese, nutella, champagne, good coffee etc. Of course I either bring small gifts from London or restock the fridge as a thank you in return. This is a little extra touch you don’t get at a cheap hotel.

 

6. Friendship

It’s nice to make friends with the locals – your host is the locals. I’ve made friends with the hosts of the places I’ve stayed in. When I visit Paris I make sure I pop round to Matthieu’s flat to say hello. He introduces me to new bars (though recently I’ve been introducing him to a few) and this just starts a chain reaction of meeting new people.

 

Of course, as with all things in life, you have to be wise when using Airbnb. The website offer plenty of advice on how to travel safely and how to pick the right place to stay as unfortunately there is always be one not so nice person who spoils all the fun. So some words of advice to those considering using Airbnb for their next trips:

 

1. Select wisely

Take your time to carefully look through your options. Look at the images carefully, make sure they are all of the same place. Do some background research on the neighborhood (Airbnb even help with this), don’t pick a cheap room in the middle of nowhere just to save on a couple of Euros.

 

2. Reviews

Read the reviews. If the person has a lot of negative reviews (broken toilet seats, not hospitable, no towels etc…) think twice. If the person do not have many reviews and you are traveling on your own then use your head. When traveling alone I make sure I stay at a place owned either by a woman or a couple, or somewhere that has plenty of reviews by women.

 

3. Contact

Do not just book in a rush. Contact your host first. I always throw a few messages back and forth asking my host questions about their life, job, hobbies etc. This builds up a bit of a relationship, especially if you are renting a room within a house and not the entire apartment on your own.

 

4. If you don’t feel right, don’t do it.

Use your instincts people.

 

And there you have it. I hope you consider using Airbnb after reading my review.

 

For more information on Airbnb visit here.

 

I HEART Camden Town

Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it has been over a week since I last posted on my blog.

I have to admit that I have been busy with ‘other preoccupations’ including preparations for various trips such as my return to Italy in a couple of weeks. I have also been ill. I am very much bunged up with a cold which I assumed was just hay-fever. This hasn’t stopped me from venturing out and doing what I love most, which is a combination of discovering new and beautiful places as well as fine dining.

Yesterday I spent a sunny afternoon in my local area, Camden Town. Here are some things I love to do in Camden.

Let’s get the food part out of the way.

Market Food at Camden Town Lock Market

Market Food at Camden Town Lock Market

I love the Lock Market, especially the food court on the weekends. Nations unite as market stalls produce Latin America, Caribbean, Asian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Italian, British and other such world foods. My favorite has to be the stall that sells corn bread wraps. I love the black bean, meat and plantain wrap. It’s fresh, homemade, wheat free and delicious.

Savoury snacks and a coconut smoothie at Made in Brazil

Savory snacks and a coconut smoothie at Made in Brazil

Brazilians have quite literally taken over the gaff. Camden Town has a growing Brazilian population and with that comes fine dinning and food stalls. I love Made in Brazil on Inverness Street. This restaurant has been here for quite some time now though I am yet to be bored of their menu. Brazilians are big on savory snacks, yesterday I sampled their bolinho de bacalhao (salted fish cakes), coxinhas (chicken parcels) and cassava (manioc) chips. These were all watered down nicely with a fresh coconut smoothie. For mains my friend had the feijoada, the national dish of Brazil and I had the moqueca, a  fish dish from Bahia in the north.

Moqueca, a fish dish from Bahia, northern Brazil

Moqueca, a fish dish from Bahia, northern Brazil

After wolfing down our food we went in search of shoes (any excuse to go for a brisk walk in order to digest our heavy meals). I love shoes and especially shoes from Author. Author have recently branched out with stores in central London, East and in West London’s Portobello Market. They also have a cute little boutique in Camden Town. Yesterday I fell in love with these babies by MTNG Originals. Classic and perfect for the summer.

MTNG Originals Sandals

MTNG Originals Sandals

If I could spend a warm summer’s day anywhere in London, it would be on Primrose Hill. Primrose Hill is a little world away from the world, a hill of a park in Chalk Farm that connects Camden with Regents Park. Many a fine summer’s days have been spent in Primrose Hill with friends and picnics. Check out the amazing view of the London skyline from the very top!

Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill

 

Catch a sunset on Primrose Hill

Catch a sunset on Primrose Hill

Regent’s Park and the Canal. My sister and I regularly walk down the canal. We love to check out the little boat houses that stretch down the canal from Camden Market to Little Venice in St. John’s Wood. I also love checking out the mansions in Regent’s Park, we walk past picking out our future homes for when we’re rich and famous. My current favorite is this one:

My Home (one day, hopefully, one day, probably not.)

My Home (one day, hopefully, one day, probably not.)

Regent's Canal

Regent’s Canal

Regent's Canal

Regent’s Canal

 

Boat Houses on Regent's Canal

Boat Houses on Regent’s Canal

Not Holland, Regent's Canal

Not Holland, Regent’s Canal

So if it’s a summer’s day, without a cloud in sight, visit Camden Town for some fine dinning, alternative shopping and a walk around somewhere quite nice.