Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hyde Park

In the heart of London is located this beautiful park, which, just as Central Park in New York, is known by pretty much everyone. Even though it's cold now and winter is almost here, it's always nice to be able to wander around a nice park with a warm coat on (or not, I mean, if you'd rather go naked I'm not the one to judge...), and Hyde Park is quite big, so there's lots of corners for you to spend some time alone if you want.

Most people stay near the Marble Arch entrance of the park (as you can see in the image below), since it's close to the main touristic areas (Piccadilly, etc.), so if you want to be away from the crowd I'd recommend you walk a bit further into the park so you can sit in more isolated places.

Hyde Park is divided in two by the Serpentine Lake, and on the other side (if you're coming from Marble Arch) you'll find the little Serpentine Gallery, where they host modern art exhibitions (although I've been there twice and haven't found anything I liked, but then again, we all like different things so go see for yourselves). Close to the gallery are the Kensington Gardens, one of the royal parks of London.

All in all, this is a quite nice park that is really worth a visit, especially since it is right in the center of London. Another park that is not too far away from the center of the city is Regent's Park - I didn't take pictures of it when I went there but I also recommend it. And since I'm recommending stuff, you should listen to Selfish Whales, a great band from Bloomington, IN that plays songs as beautiful as this one.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Diner

In Curtain Road, in the Shoreditch area, is located the Diner, an American restaurant (or, well, diner) specialized in (obviously) burgers, pancakes, and more. In these photos I'll show you the one on Shoreditch, but there are more across the city (Camden, Soho, Islington...). 

Basically, it is a diner located on a very interesting area of London, and the restaurant itself is very cozy, especially if you seat in a booth next to the windows. There are vegetarian options aside from the regular hamburgers, and the price is alright, as you can see:

I also have to admit that I've never had a burger there so I can't really talk about its quality, but I did have some pancakes as per a friend's suggestion and they were very good. If you order the "high stack" you won't need to eat in months, seriously... or I mean, until dinner. Also, the waiters are very nice. My friend ordered some pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup, but since I don't really like those ingredients, I asked for some chocolate and got some Nutella! Amazing.

So yeah, I really recommend this place. And it's much nicer to go have a burger here (on in Byron, a small chain of burger restaurants that have one in Angel, and it is delicious; you can also go to Haché, in Camden - it is also very good) than in McDonald's. I'm tellin' ya.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Forbidden Planet

I love comics - and manga, graphic novels, etc. I have to admit that if it weren't for my brother and some friends I probably wouldn't know anything about that, but since I was a kid me and my brother would always read Dragon Ball and Marvel comics, and later on I started reading Naruto and graphic novels from great authors like Craig Thompson or Nate Powell

All of this and more can be found at Forbidden Planet, a big store located next to Covent Garden. It's one of the most large and best-known science-fiction and fantasy stores in the world, and it has several stores in the United Kingdom, the biggest one being the one in London.

And indeed they have LOTS of things. For starters, as you go in there are stands with awesome candy boxes. I love the Nintendo inspired ones!

On the ground floor there are tons of action figures from Nintendo, World Of Warcraft, Animal Crossing, Nightmare before Christmas, Marvel, Transformers, and much more. There are also vinyl toys:

And on the basement they have a big selection of comics, manga, and graphic novels. I really don't know that much about it, so maybe if you're looking for something really exclusive you won't find it, but I think they do have a lot!

And that's pretty much it. I really recommend it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oriental Delight

Hello friends,

today I present you a small store located in Chinatown (specifically Gerrard Street), between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. This is one of the few stores of the street, which mainly consists of restaurants. There is also another store like this one close to this one, towards Tokyo Diner.

You'll mainly find food in this store, and in particular candies. This is probably just a regular store but if you're into Asian culture it's really nice, because all the candy wrapping is wonderful! I have to admit, lately I've been listening to and watching videos of Korean pop... Yes, yes, it's true. And it's AWESOME. So anything that reminds me of it is a plus.

That said, be careful and look at the expiration date on the products because a friend of mine bought some candy and some of it was expired! And so maybe you're thinking, so why the heck are you posting about this store? Well, because ...I guess not all of it is expired, and plus it's hard to find this kind of store in Spain, so... yeah. And, as I mentioned before, the wrapping and boxes have all these colorful drawings and it makes for a nice and simple gift. For instance, I like these:

As you can see they also have some "Hello Kitty" stuff so there's a bit for everyone (that is, everyone that is into these kinds of things). It might no be the best store in London, but it's in the city centre and around Chinatown, so if you're in the area it's nice if you want some pink and blue chewing gum or something...

By the way, I know I already posted about this but my brother and I just started posting recipes again on our cooking blog... We're going to try to update it as much as we can from now on! I still have to translate the last couple of recipes but most if it is already translated! Hopefully you'll find something you like. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Natural History Museum (Part 2)

When I talked about the Natural History Museum, I mentioned that I wouldn't talk about everything you can find in there nor show everything you can see in there, namely the blue whale room, because it would make for an extremely long post. Which is why I decided to split it in two, and so here is the second part of the NHM installment!

The blue whale room is amazing - at least to me. It features most of my favorite animals (this favorite animal thing is a bit preadolescent-ish but oh well, I do love deer and whales) and is arranged beautifully: the blue whale and other sea mammals are hanging from the ceiling, and here and there you can see a moose, a bison, and many more wonderful animals. 

For more information, check my previous post. Hopefully these photos will make you want to go.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Portobello Market

Summer in Madrid is hard to deal with, especially these last few weeks, so here I am home trying to avoid the heat, and while I'm here, I've decided to do another blog post before 2016 arrives. Today I'll be talking about the Portobello Market, which you can find on Portobello Road (obviously), next to the Notting Hill Gate tube station.

In order to get there you just have to follow the crowd, walk by the Book & Comic Exchange store and keep walking through some streets that have very CUTE houses that must cost a pound per square centimeter per month (basically because it's Notting Hill we're talking about).

And then you'll get to this deserted street (yes) (especially on the weekends). But it's worth it.

The most interesting thing about this street are its antiquity stores and stalls, which go from the beginning to the end of the road, and of which I am a fan (something you might have noticed if you've been reading this blog for a while).

These stalls are there from very early in the morning until about 4 in the afternoon, so I'd recommend you go early in order to make the most of it.
Of course, not all of it are antiquities. You can also find a toy store, cafés, clothing stores, bakeries, and even a store and bar selling Spanish products (Garcia & Sons), which was nice in my case since I was able to find really good Spanish tuna.

If you keep walking straight (if you come from Notthing Hill Gate station) you'll see on your left at some point a wide street where there are more stalls.

As you can see there are lots of things to do on the area and all kinds of stores. If you decide to spend the day there, in order to rest and/or have a sandwich you can go to a small park you'll find on one of the streets to the right (I'm giving you the best directions on how to get there, eh?) where in summer you'll find some beautiful tulips (even though I'm not the biggest flower fan, they do look really nice!).

And then, if you want to keep walking or go shopping (since that's why many people come to London), you can go back to the station and keep walking the other way until you get to High Kensington, a nice but expensive neighborhood that's nice to look at and at the end of which is the Holland Park, which I'll talk about in the future (as well as High Kensington Street).

Friday, August 5, 2011


Hello friends! Long time no "see". I can't stop listening to Songs: Ohia. Their album Magnolia Electric Co. is awesome... You should definitely check it out.

Today and after a thousand months I'm going to talk about a slightly cheese toy store. Well it's just cheesy in a few areas, and I mean, everybody has different tastes, so I don't even know why I said anything in the first place. It's a nice store and it has nice toys.

HoneyJam is a store that opened in 2006 in Portobello Street. It is located just in front of the Café Garcia (you can see its reflection on the above picture), where you can go have some churros if you miss Spain. Because, you know, I have churros everyday while I'm here... 

Anyway, what I like about this store is that it focuses on vintage toys instead of all the new technologic toys you can find everywhere nowadays - the store itself looks old, with its wooden floor and shelves full of toys that remind me of my childhood (although I have to admit that I like After Noah better...).

Maybe something I don't like that much about this store is the obvious difference between the boy and the girl sections: on one you will find pirates and the like, and on the other most of the toys will be pink and purple. 

But as I've said many times, we all like different things so maybe you won't mind that, and so maybe you'll find there the most awesome (pink and purple) gifts. 

In any case there is more HoneyJam than the girl section so browse for a bit and you'll probably find nice and small items (including the beautiful wrapping papers) that could make for good presents.

And if you get bored, you can always go out and check Portobello Road, a street full of stands, which I'll talk about next time. Now I'm going to play some guitar.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book and Comic Exchange

Dear friends of the world wide web, hello again. I hope you're doing well. I've moved out of my parent's house and I'm currently living with my brother, a friend, and a little cat named Milou. Which means I spent quite a while without an Internet connection... But now I can surf the web every night and watch episodes of Modern Family and Criminal Minds 24/7.

On 14, Pembridge Road you'll see this little second-hand bookshop, part of the Music & Goods Exchange chain, which in their different shops sell all kinds of second-hand products, such as records, books, clothes, and more. In this store you'll only find books but there's another store in Berwick Street called 'Music & Video Exchange" (filled with records, cd's, and dvd's) (in case the name didn't make you reach that conclusion).

Already on the outside there are some wooden boxes with books at 50 cents. They're not usually very interesting but they're worth checking out!

Once inside you'll see that everything is organized by genres and alphabetically, which is always nice because some bookshops can get messy...

Furthermore, this bookshop is right next to the tube station and five minutes away from the Portobello Market (which I'll talk about here soon!)... What else could you ask for? Probably tons of stuff but this isn't bad for starters.

Inside you'll also find some stairs that will take you down to an area filled with comic books, manga, and other books that are even cheaper. THUS it's a total BARGAIN.

Actually this store is not that different from the thousands of second-hand bookshops of London, but they have a lot of comics and manga, and that's not so usual. Also, the price of the books keeps lowering every month. I remember I saw an awesome Quentin Blake illustrated Christmas book that cost 5 pounds, and I ended up buying it a few months later for 2. So be sure to check it out.

And now I'm off to have a salad.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Natural History Museum (Part 1)

Hello friends, I'm back again after a break with a rather long post about the Natural History Museum to make up for the delay! (I should stop mentioning this because the next entry will probably be up in May or something...).

Best museum ever (for me, that is). When I was a kid, I used to hate most museums because I found them too boring (I'm guessing I wasn't the only one), except perhaps for science museums, since they had awesome experiments for children. But little by little I'm starting to appreciate them and this is one of my favorites.

As its name indicates, this is a museum devoted to the history of the earth and its inhabitants, all within an amazing building, as you will see in the (few) pictures I'll be posting. As I've already mentioned I love Harry Potter and its aesthetics and this rather big building reminds me of that particular world.

If you go into the museum through the main entrance, this is what you'll find:

A nice dinosaur skeleton, a Charles Darwin statue, and a beautiful architecture.

If you access the building through the other entrance, you'll see this:

The earth (more or less) surrounded by constellation maps. If you go up those stairs you'll find the area devoted to earth phenomenons, such as volcanoes, earthquakes, etc.

I love both entrances, but as far as the contents are concerned I usually enter through the first door because it's easier to access the areas devoted to animals. You can also see the dinosaur exhibition, which is the most popular (and there are really long queues of people on Sundays). Personally I don't find it that interesting; some skeletons are amazing, of course, but it's not as big as I thought and the T-Rex, which sort of moves, is not really impressive. But hey, we all enjoy different things so if there aren't many people be sure to check it out.

If you go to the first floor you'll see the history of mankind, where men are compared to monkeys.

A bit further there's a huge room where stones and minerals are exhibited:

Very nice indeed. If you go up some more stairs, there's a chunk of sequoia (the biggest tree in the world) that you'll be able to admire if you wish.

But to me, the best part is the one devoted to mammals, and animals in general.

Then (well, depending on where you go next) you'll see all the fish, reptiles, and more, an area that I don't particularly enjoy but that is mainly because I'm not a fan of fish. I mentioned in the title that this is Part 1 of the Natural History Museum entry, because I took so many photos that I don't want to put them all today. Next time I'll talk about the blue whale room, where a huge blue whale replica is shown (obviously) along with other wonderful animals like deer, bison, and more.

I haven't talked about everything you can find in there, I guess that is up to you now. NHM is open everyday from 10h to 17h50 (on Sundays it closes at 17h30) and it's free. There's also an extension of the museum that I haven't visited yet because it's a bit far away, called 'Nhm at Tring', but it looks pretty interesting as well.

And after this brief post, I'm going to play some guitar.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Candy Cakes

First of all, I'm terribly sorry for the delay but I honestly suck at blogging. I'm not good at keeping up with this... but I'll do my best, so that you can have an extensive guide of London. I hope you had a fabulous, or should I say tremendous, time over Christmas and that January was a good month for you.

Now let's talk about this colorful store. In spite of the color combination including pastel green (let me say I -hate- pastel colors) that somewhat reminds me of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada (not very fond of her either), this place is worth checking out. And since there's more than one in London, you have no excuse.

Candy Cakes opened in 2006 with the intention of making unique and innovative cakes and the already mentioned cupcakes. And maybe they taste like your regular cupcake, but there are so many different colors that it definitely catches your eye. I must admit I still haven't tasted these cupcakes because I've never been really into turquoise cakes, but I did have a Nutella milkshake and it was awesome. Seriously. Usually when you find Nutella ice-creams or milkshakes they just taste like chocolate, but this one was amazing.

The shop you can see in these pictures also has a little terrasse (did I just make up that word?) and is in Monmouth Street, in Covent Garden, near the Leicester Square station.

You can find more information on their website, which I linked above, and as far as the prices are concerned... well, this is London we're talking about.

And in the next entry (which will hopefully be up before 2014) I'll talk about the Natural History Museum and post a thousand pictures, give or take. Peace out.