Columbia Road Flower Market

image

It is so hard coming to London or any city for that matter as a tourist – the guide books seem to be filled with hundreds of pages of detail on one small seemingly obscure statue, there are unhelpful maps, dodgy recommendations which have been living too long off their reputation and worst of all there is very little local knowledge. What I really want from a guide book is it to act like a silent local tour buddy, taking me first to see the “essentials” where I can get my picture taken in front of the cities most famous landmarks – aka London Bridge, Houses of Parliament and Picadilly Circus, and then, once I have safely Facebook status checked in, selfied to my hearts content and social media conquered my holiday city, I want my local travel buddy to take me see the hidden gems that makes each place so unique and special. One such gem is Columbia Road Flower Market, a perfect place to shop, take beautiful pictures, meet interesting people, eat amazing food and relax at the haunts of some of London’s most trendiest hipsters.

imageimage

The market is open every Sunday until 3pm. We arrived around 1.30 in the afternoon and the streets were already bustling. Buskers strummed guitars whilst hipster ate oysters and drank beer in the street. Clientele with high waisted jeans, crop tops and hats spilled out of the Cafes and Boho Restaurants. The houses were really smart and the few gaps in the street had been filled with boutique shops selling terracotta pottery and antiques. Columbia Road was beautiful, with lovely shops selling cool clothes, art, gardening tools and home furnishings. Each one was so unique and alternative, I just loved the vibe. People queed for coffee and fresh juice being made behind tiny counters, pop up shops from front doors of houses to cater for this thirst crowd

imageimageimageimage

In between the shops were endless barrows of flowers, plants and potted trees. Real Londoners shouted at the top of their voices their offers and prices. The atmosphere was great. People jostled past with large ferns and banana plants. Cactuses were sold next to chilli plants for ÂŁ1. Young men presented beaming girls with giant bouquets of sunflowers, roses and hyacinths wrapped in brown paper. The place was full, so sometimes it was hard walking through the throng of people. We had a good look and took some pictures and by the time we had got an amazing coffee from an art gallery/cafe, the market started closing and the prices started getting lower. It was hard to decide which flowers to buy because they were all so lovely. In the end we decided upon a huge bought of sunflowers and another of orange cabbage flowers as they were so different to anything that I had seen before.

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

After flower shopping we decided to go to Venerdi‘s a great Italian restaurant in Chatsworth Road. We decided upon Venerdi’s for a change but we could have gone to any one of the great eats along Broadway Market, which is just 15 minutes walk from Columbia Flower Road and is where I bought my green jumper that I am wearing here in the pictures.

imageimageimage

As this was a Sunday afternoon out I decided to wear faux leather baggy (but not so baggy after the giant calzone pizza) shorts and combine them with a green sweater for casual look . What I love about this top is the rich green color, which really goes well with dark bottoms, like dark blue jeans or black shorts. The embellishment and pattern on the front I felt was so original as was the detail in the sleeves and as soon as I saw it I loved it. Let me know what you think of my suggestion for a great thing to do on a Sunday in London and also if you like the look! 🙂 Do have any great things to do in your city on a Sunday? What local haunts would your recommend or love to go on your day off? Let me know, Love Abi xxx

image

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

WEARING

Faux Leather Shorts – Ebay

Green Embellished Sweater – BLACK TRUFFLE

Metal Tip shoes – STRADIVARIUS

Silver studded earrings – BULGARI

White baggy T – H&M

Follow My Girls On Tour on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to see our adventures, outfits and travels as they happen in real time xxx

bloglovin4_zps362d6fc6Instagram-icon-pinkTwitter-icon-pinkfacebook_thumbnail

 🙂 xxx

Flowers in My Head

I have one last exam left and then I am off to Wales followed by Morocco. I wanted to do some posts before I leave London for the summer on the things that I get up to, where I live and the secret gems and hide away that are not featured in the guide books. So I’m going to start off by talking the new Olympic park which I can see from my kitchen window.

DSC_0887

Right now it is a great time to go to walk along the Green Way to the Stadium as all the flowers are out. This walk is really nice as you can see the city over in the distance and there is a great sense of space and openness.  I love having coffee at the Green Way Cafe where they have art exhibitions, a piano often played by passing by cyclists and an overgrown garden before arriving at the busy shopping mall just minutes away. This wild walk makes a change from my usual haunt, Victoria Park which has been voted London’s best park in 2014.

I wore a white floral lace top which is really light and instead of combining it with denim shorts I decided to go for cotton brown ones, which are more comfortable. This meant that I was able to run across the fields and pick flowers without worrying about them getting dirty or without being able to move. For accessories I wore hand made earrings from Lithuania which are really delicate and feminine.

image

image image

image

image

image

image image

image

Have you been to the Olympic park yet? If so what did you think about it? Which one is your favorite London park?

WEARING

Neon Rose Lace vest top – HOUSE OF FRASER

Brown Cotton Shorts – PRIMARK (sold out)

Sunglasses – TRUSSARDI

Hand-made earrings from Vilnius Lithuania

Grey Wedge Embellished Sandals  from Barcelona

 

Mustard and Navy Blue Satin for my meeting with the flowers

I had been looking forward to seeing the flower fields of Holland ever since I was a little girl. I thought it right to dress up for the occasion and wear a halter neck satin top with chunky choker beads. But we would have to walk around and most people would be in tourist long shorts, socks and sandals or even trainers. I was with my friends and they wasn’t going to be a photo shoot, just a visit of this beautiful place. So I opted against a skirt and combined the top instead with mustard brown jeans.

image

These rich colors would not seem out of place in the countryside, but would also not take the focus away from the flowers. The mustard lightened the blue, which otherwise, if combined with anything darker would have looked too harsh against all the surrounding color. I wore espadrilles, to give the outfit a summery feel, but also as these were the closest I had to the traditional Dutch Clogs. Indeed,espadrilles were traditional worn by french farmers and so this seemed a fitting choice and a good alternative to trainers for our outing into the countryside. What do you think?

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Keukenhof flower gardens, a mecca for old aged pensioners and me

DSC_0263 DSC_0312 DSC_0188

So I have just come back from a very short trip to Holland. This was the first time that I would visit the flower basket of Europe in Spring time. The aim of this visit was thus, as well as to celebrate King’s Day, to see the beautiful flower fields and tulips that grow in abundance across the low lying fields around Amsterdam. My Dutch friends had been warned. Why, they asked do you want to see the flowers? The fields are nothing special they exclaimed! Indeed, for many young Dutch people, flowers and flower harvests have always formed part of their everyday lives.

DSC_0298

image

image image image image image

We walked towards the bus stop that would take us to Keukenhof – the world famous flower gardens. Not a single Dutch person that I spoke to afterwards had ever been, but all had heard about it. Tourists however were clearly flocking here in droves. We had to queue for an hour and wait for three buses in order to finally be able to board the bus. The cost of the park was 23 euros, but that hadn’t seemingly deterred anyone from going.

image image image

DSC_0267 DSC_0278 DSC_0300

As we arrived I noticed that Keukenhof was undoubtedly a favorite destination for the world’s older citizens. The downside is that you will find yourself amongst a sea of blooming flowers and grey haired pensioners and with this come the usual problems associated with old age – endless waiting for pictures to be taken, due to lack of camera or phone agility, pile ups at the best photo spots  and of course old person queue jumping. To see a nimble granny grin from ear to ear after somehow squeezing herself in between yourself and your friends and then quietly trying to persuade others to do the same, kills me every time. However,  where there is age, there is also wisdom. The beauty of Keukenhof and the garden landscaping is breathtaking and unmatched by any other which I have ever seen. So if you are young, be smart, follow and learn from your elders who know life and what is worth seeing and put this on your list of things to do whilst in Holland.

DSC_0250

Keukenhof is the world’s second largest flower garden.  The reason for the price is that this is literally an all day trip. The park is massive, approximately 32 hectares and there are multiple entrances, shops, indoor displays and activities. Restaurants and bars adorn the side of a large lake around which the park extends out into the fields. Watch Dutch people dangle herrings above their heads and then devour them with open mouths, and see the beer tents, wooden clogs and women dressed in traditional costumes. There is a great elevated place which enables the visitors to get a fantastic view across the flat tulip fields (which unfortunately were mostly dead by the time I arrived!). It is said that around 7 million flower bulbs are planted each year!

DSC_0324

DSC_0268

Keukenhof features a variety of different gardens and garden styles. For example, the English landscape garden features winding paths and unexpected see-through points (designed by Zocher in 1830, the garden architect of the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, among others). The historical garden is an enclosed garden where you can see many old types of bulbs. The nature garden consists of a water garden where shrubs and perennials are combined with bulbous plants. The Japanese country garden is a non-traditional garden in a natural environment. This place looks just like a something from a fairy tale. I could have spent hours wondering around, taking pictures, admiring the colors and beautiful carpets and rivers of colour flowing through the trees. The lake was wonderful, with beautiful sculptures and statues. Unmissable and would highly recommend it!

Hippies and Flower Power

image

For the past few days the sun has been coming out and life has been just that much more fun and love that much more beautiful. All the hipsters are sunbathing in the park, with short skirts, shorts and shades. To top things off I’ve just bought my tickets to the Holi Festival of Colours for this summer. Festival season is on the horizon, I’m super excitted. All the flowers are in full bloom. So it feels right, to celebrate all of this with some hippy chic.

image

image

 image

image

image

image

image

 

I’ve combined my tasseled  suede jacket and a handmade artisan bracelet from Tierra, with a white floral crochet dress. Quick, someone find me a tree to hug.

image

Wearing

AX PARIS DRESS
FOREVER 21 SUEDE JACQUET
TIERRA MADRID HANDMADE BRACELET
GUESS SHOES
TRUSSARDI SUNGLASSES

Peace and Love x

%d bloggers like this: