London: Shoreditch Design & Shopping Walk

Shoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie Parker

I spent one of my Saturdays in London wandering around Shoreditch, looking for design stores.

Okay, I confess: I never wander.  I walk with purpose and always know where I’m going.  It’s an affliction.

The Plan

My plan of attack for the day:  start at Old Spitalfields Market to check out the vendors and the area stores, make my way toward the Old Truman Brewery and Backyard Market, have lunch at some point, walk up Shoreditch High Street to Material, then bus down to the Design Museum if I had time.  While not technically wandering, I stopped at any store that looked cool along the way.

Shoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie Parker

The Results

I had a love-at-first-sight moment with Oliver Bonas.  Bright colors, homewares with clean lines, cards, furniture, and more.  I thought about moving in.  I snapped a pictures of these quirky chests and sent them to my mom so we can make one (they don’t ship internationally).  I got out of there with a scarf and a couple of cards.

I almost tried on some clothes because the Old Spitalfields vendors were awesome.  But I was cold and couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I stumbled onto BoxPark and Tusch und Egon, contemplating for a while how I could pack home a beautiful modern fire extinguisher.  The shopkeeper told me they can’t be packed, even in the cargo hold.  Rats.

Double rats: I didn’t realize there were more BoxPark shops upstairs!  I really should learn how to wander.

I found a solar-powered dashboard corgi at Maiden and quickly snapped it up for the corgi-lover in my life.

I stopped to admire all the street art and got to see my very first Bansky!

I had an argument with myself at the Backyard Market about taking off my scarf to try on a necklace (it was cold).  The necklace won!  I bought it and a lovely hammered ring from Boém.

My patience rewarded, I found the street food vendors near Backyard Market and got a fresh juice and halloumi wrap.

Finally, I bused across Tower Bridge and walked to the Design Museum to check out the gift shop.  I’m not sure it was worth the trek since it was so out of the way from the other shops.  However, my opinion was probably influenced by the fact that it was cold and very windy on the walk there.

Not a bad day’s work!

Shoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie Parker

If You Go

Click here for a map of all the locations I visited (peach pins are stores).

Websites: Oliver Bonas | Old Spitalfields Market | InSpitalfields | Backyard Market | Boém | BoxPark | Tusch und Egon | Maiden | Material | Design Museum

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on London

I traveled solo to London for the month of April on a business trip and kept myself entertained on the weekends exploring new places.  

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Trip Report III: London

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Read Part I here and Part II here.

London calling.

Our week in London was all work, but we had the weekend to look around.  We’ve been to London once before and have hit the major sites.  We were so busy this time — you won’t find photos of Westminster or Big Ben.

On the other hand, we got to do some things that were left off the list last time.

We’d originally planned an EPL game on Saturday, but none of the games available in London were that great.  Mr. P turned over Saturday plans to me.  Left to my devices, we did this:

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Last time we were there, the Palace was closed.  It’s only open to visitors when the Queen is on summer vacation.  I jumped on it and got tickets!

Sunday we stopped at the Tower of London to see the poppy installation.  I’d read a lot about it and and was so glad we got to see it in person.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

The poppies, which are still being installed, each represent one British or Commonwealth fatality from World War I.  It was incredibly moving.  Read a great article about the installation here — it includes information on purchasing one of the poppies to benefit charity.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

From there, we took a boat to Greenwich.  Such a cute place!

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

We walked up to the observatory, bought a ticket, and patiently queued up with other tourists so we could get our picture taken on the Prime Meridian.  I’m calling this the European equivalent of seeing a giant ball of twine on a roadtrip — sort of anti-climactic but you must get your photo taken anyway!

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Then it was back to work work work.  We commuted to our jobs via Tube with the rest of London.  Did I mention I love public transportation?  Even if it’s sweltering and need of ventilation.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

My office is in Victoria and I cut through the Victoria train station to get to work every day.  The amount of hustle and bustle and people trying to get every which way is astounding.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I didn’t take many pictures during the week though I’m sure you’d love to see pictures of my laptop.

Mr. P worked in a different part of the city and snapped this photo.  Sometimes when you are working it’s easy to slip away and forget you’ve traveled to a great city.  Mr. P was walking near his office and boom!  There was St. Paul’s.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Incidentally, I’ve had Mary Poppins music in my head since seeing Saving Mr. Banks on the plane.  This is appropriate given the location, right?

Our last night, we headed to East London.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

We heard about a street food event and that Friday was the last one of the season.  Lucky us, again!

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

We broke our longstanding rule to never eat Mexican food east of the Mississippi River (if you’re from California, you’ll understand) because these tacos looked very promising.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I suspect (I know) that they had this place styled to make it so very Instagrammable.  Don’t care!  I took tons of pictures.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

We had a date on Lufthansa the next morning so we made it an early night.

This pub was right outside our home Tube station.  I’d been eyeing it the whole trip and I got a picture on our last night.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I always seem to be insanely busy when I’m in London, both with work and play.  We’ll be back!

But we hurried away because we had a very exciting weekend in Munich ahead.

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on London

Mr. P and I just returned from a 25-day trip to Europe (work + fun).  It’s the longest we’ve ever been away from home and I’m sharing each stop in a blog post with some of the hundreds of pictures we took.  Doing my best not to include photos already Instagrammed.  Stay tuned for Munich next.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Lollygagging in London

Photographing London

Hello lovelies!  If you follow me on Facebook or Google+, you know that I just got home from an extended business trip although I didn’t say where.  I spent close to two weeks in London!

Photographing London

I won’t bore you with the business bit, except to say I spent many 12-hour days in the office feverishly working.  On the weekends, I feverishly crammed in as much sightseeing as possible since I’d never been to London.  (End result = exhaustion with a side of jet lag).

Photographing London

Although I was there for business, I toted my camera along and tried to work on how I take pictures.  I love looking at travel pictures from other bloggers and secretly file away lessons I want to try on my next trip.

Just take pictures.  That was my biggest mantra.  I’m all about living in the moment but there are lots of times where I wished I’d taken the time to snap something.  The carriage below was the first picture I took on the trip – it was rolling by right after I checked into my hotel.

Photographing London

Bad lighting: being winter, I battled the sun a lot.  It never got too high up in the sky and set early.  It created a lot of harsh light situations at places where I didn’t have time go to go back and get better pictures.  I was barely able to get the Olympic countdown clock!

Photographing London

I experimented with getting more randomness, signs especially.  I realized I love signs!

Photographing London

Of course there’s food.  I feel like food pictures capture a lot about the trip.

Photographing London

Yes, I’m going to have to re-watch my Royal Wedding DVD and every other movie I own that’s set in Britain.  I only now realized how many movies on the list I shared with you fit that category.

Photographing London

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on London