Archive for the 'UK 2014' Category

UK Trip: London (Part Three)

The UK posts are coming to an end. This is the last one!

There are lots of photos this time too, but most of them were taken on the last day. The second last day was pretty uneventful—we went for a talk at the Westfield mall and had shopping time after, so that took up most of the time and we didn’t do much beside that.

I did however, have the best pasta I’d ever tastedhehe rabbit

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This was a creamy tagliatelle with mussels (or more like mussels with a side of pasta, there were so many). It was the daily special at a restaurant called The Bull, which is just about one of my favourite places I ate at.

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The whole place had this quirky, homey atmosphere and I loved being there; the bad part is that we only had twenty minutes to eat. (Why were we always in a rush?!) I really wished I could have enjoyed the food and setting for a much longer time, but I was happy enough with the quick meal I had there.

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Funnily enough, on our last night in Britain we were all brought to an Asian restaurant for dinner. It was a bit of an anti-climax, but I suppose also a novelty to eat the same food we have at home in a foreign country.

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I had my last breakfast the next morning:')The plate had all my favourites—croissant with raspberry jam, blueberry muffin, scrambled eggs, and muesli (of course). Now that I’m back home I miss that big breakfast I had every day there!

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We set off for East London where we visited the Old Spitalfields Market, a covered vintage marketplace filled with all sorts of old treasures from books to vinyls to clothes to the most retro cameras ever. The market itself dates back from the Victorian era; it was amazing to see how the place thrived on the soul and character of the past.

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It was a visual feast everywhere. There were so many unusual, attractive knick-knacks crowding every corner that we had no problem going round and round and not getting bored.

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I came across all these old books! I love books, and seeing so many of these gems everywhere was exciting. The Winnie the Pooh volumes were especially tempting, but after hovering over them for a while I didn’t get any. Now I don’t actually know why I just walked away from them…I should have gotten onecryBut I did get a little Beatrix Potter book, which isn’t that old, but still an adorable pocket-sized original edition.

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Even the people there fit the retro atmosphere perfectly.

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One of my favourite spots in the market was definitely the pastry stall. It was the first stall we saw when we entered, and I zeroed in on it immediately. Be still my beating heartloveI’d never seen a more perfect set up of baked goods. (We really don’t have these here)

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It took me a good half an hour (I pondered while wandering the rest of the market) to decide on which of these doughy treasures I was going to take 10,000 pictures of and eat.

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Eventually I went with this Belgian bun! It was the first one that caught my eye because of all the white icing and bright red cherry on top. This was so huge I struggled to finish it, but it was worth every sticky bite. I did get a lot of icing on my fingers while turning it this way and that for pictures. And then some more on my chin when I took a strategically placed bite for a half-eaten bun picture.

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Bread bliss. It was almost the size of my face! Or maybe it was. Ate it too fast to tell.

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Apart from the pastry, the other half of my lunch was a crepehappy girlOne of my goals throughout the entire trip was to eat a nutella crepe and I kept passing by stall after stall without ever getting any, so I was happy to finally eat one here.

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The very last stop was Trafalgar Square, which was so classically London that it felt like I’d landed in a tourist guidebook. It was a sweet and satisfying end to the whole trip, seeing all the iconic landmarks like the National Gallery and the fountains and all the statues.

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The National Gallery was the most beautiful museum I’d ever seen. I’m not exaggerating either, because I really haven’t been in that many in my lifediet nekoThe British Museum had lots of spectacular, special things inside, but the decor and aura of the National Gallery was unlike any other place.

The whole atmosphere was hushed and almost reverent in a two hundred-year-old gallery—you could practically smell the appreciation all around.

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I’m not knowledgeable in art at all, but I did get excited seeing the famous Monet and van Gogh paintings up closenekoWhen I was little I read a lot of illustrated biographies of them in children’s magazines like Discovery Box, so their art works particularly stood out.

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In true English fashion, the rainy weather came to see us off in all its cloudy gloom. It rained all the way till we reached the airport, and added a little melodrama to our departure from London.

I’ve finally come to the end of my posts on my trip to England; it’s taken me ages to blog about all ten days, but it was incredibly fun looking through and editing all the photos because they brought back so many memories. It’s extra special since this was my first school tripgirlIt could only have been this fun because I was surrounded by friends the entire time.

And also, I’ve ticked off my dream of visiting England. Till the next time I go there again! (Pret A Manger, I’m coming for your sandwiches again)

Thank you for reading!

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UK Trip: London (Part Two)

Hello!

For part two of my London travels, I’m going to combine two days of photos for the sake of organisation. (Also it’s already been a month since I actually returned and at this rate I’d take forever to finish posting about my trip)

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Starting the post off with a good breakfast, just like every day in the UK. Mmm. On this morning I thought I should change things up on my plate a little, so I tried a smattering of baked beans and a veggie sausage. And of course I couldn’t resist the mountain of pastries as usual, so I picked a croissant and some jam to go with it.

After breakfast we set off for our first stop of the day—the British Museumkirakira

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But it rained.

No matter—the inside of the museum was extraordinarygirlThere were centuries of peculiar artefacts packed everywhere, many of them broken and tarnished but still beautiful. We also discovered that the British Museum is mostly made up of things that aren’t actually British.

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The museums here don’t have such exotic treasures from all over the world, so I loved seeing the crumbly Egyptian sculptures and everything else. I thought I saw the famous Cleopatra’s mummy, but later found out that it wasn’t the real queen but a girl named after her.

We did our best to explore the museum, but probably spent the most time around the Egyptian and Greek sections where there were lots of huge statues of ancient figures. I took pictures with them occasionally, though I look about as stiff as the statues themselves.

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After spending the morning at the British Museum, we went to find lunch! Thanks to the rain it became chilly, so we went into a random cafe on a random street. It was a sandwich cafe, so in my head I was thinking about panini and ciabatta and all that fancy bread. But I got a bit confused with the overcrowded menu and ended up with egg mayo in ordinary sandwich bread…no wonder it barely cost two pounds.

Still, I love sandwiches all the samesmile

After that we went on to our next stop…

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The BBC Broadcasting House!kira kira

We were specially brought here for the studio tour which most of us enjoyed quite a bit, being communications students and all.

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The tour brought us around the studios—we watched the journalists working away in the huge newsroom and had a go at news reading and recording a radio play. There was lots of history in the building too, like the microphone used by the Queen.

Being right inside such a famous broadcasting house was coolsmileThe best part was seeing how everything worked behind the scenes of television news. The whole place was buzzing. I was seriously impressed—I think I’d be really stressed if I were a journalist at this snazzy, top-notch place. It probably doesn’t help when there’s a pack of students goggling at you from behind a glass wall while you work.

After the BBC tour we were done for the day! The teachers released us to do whatever we wanted for the rest of the night, so the large group dissolved pretty quickly. My friends and I headed to Oxford Street for a much-awaited shopping tripnekoWe hadn’t had the time to shop before this, and very much wanted to visit the legendary Primark. Which I enjoyed in the end, but privately thought a tad too messy.

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Since most of the night was spent at the shops, we finished up with a small dinner at Pret A Manger. I wasn’t keen on another sandwich so I got this little pot of mushroom risotto, which was hot and creamy and just what I needed to end the day with. (I need someone to import the entire Pret chain here)

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Breakfast the next day was deliciously classic with a slice of bread (plus nutella!), scrambled eggs, muesli with milk, and hot chocolate to warm me up before going out in the cold. It sounds like a lot in words but there was just a little portion of each—I like it when there’s lots of different bite-sized food to try.

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I am always partial to this onegirl

My favourite part about granola and muesli is their texture, so I like to sneak in extra raisins and seeds for a crunchier, chewier taste (though sometimes with granola it becomes quite the jaw exercise).

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We spent the morning at the Warner Bros Studio Tour! This is entirely about Harry Potter, because it’s the actual set where the films were made. Having never read or watched the series, I was probably the only person who was not a Harry Potter fan and didn’t buy anything from the gift shop:')But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself—it was fun seeing the sets and special effects technology, plus I drank a cup of butterbeer.

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I think we took around three hours to finish the whole tour. It’s a good thing we were used to speedy lunches by then; it was another grab-and-go so I only had enough time to eat a pain au chocolat. It tasted amazing, except I didn’t know how to pronounce pain au chocolat and ended up pointing at it while saying something vaguely French-sounding to the boy at the counter.

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Basically it’s like a pillow-shaped croissant with chocolate chips, yum.

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In the evening we headed to Covent Garden! This picture was randomly taken during the journey by the tube—we changed lines at Notting Hill Gate fairly often and I always thought of Hugh Grant and colourful houses.

I really liked the atmosphere at Covent Garden, but as usual we were in a hurry and didn’t get to explore it much.

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Instead we had a quick dinner of burgers at Byroneat

I’m not a hamburger person so the size of the whole thing took me by surprise.

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Our programme for the night was a West End musical! We went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal. It was one of my favourite experiences from the entire trip, all because I love Roald Dahl and musicals so getting both of them together was a huge treat.

I really wanted to show how the theatre looked like, because it was just about the grandest place I’d ever been in. It’s a few centuries old and the oldest theatre in London that’s still around. I’d say you should Google it and see how gorgeous it is inside.

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They were selling these Wonka chocolate bars at £3 each, which I mulled over till I caved and bought two. I kept one to bring home, and opened the other during the show and doled out the squares. It’s Millionaire’s shortbread—a right indulgence to nibble on while watching an incredible show. It was a wonderful smorgasbord of singing, dancing and lots of fun and colourful scenes.

That was one of the best nightshappy

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UK Trip: London (Part One)

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After several days of being a nomadic tribe, we finally settled down in London! It was a lot more buzzing than the cities we were previously in, and there were tons of people and activities crowding the streets.

By the time we reached London it was already evening so everyone scattered for dinner around our hotel, which was in Wembley Park.

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A few of my friends and I went to a fifties-style diner called Frankie & Benny’s, and I had hot baked wraps stuffed with avocado and red pepper. This was the exact moment I fell in love with wraps—I’d never really eaten them before at home but after this I found myself wanting them again and againneko

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It also came along with chunky coleslaw and the hugest baked potato on the side.

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Skipping straight to breakfast the next daynekoThis hotel also had a little morning buffet, so everyday I liked to pile my favourites onto my plate. There always had to be muesli, and I’d rotate around the muffins and croissants and scrambled eggs. It was a luxury to see so many different kinds of breakfast foodkira

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The first day in London was specially for sightseeing! We had a tour guide bring us around the famous landmarks of the city, like Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park (plus countless red telephone boxes).

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Seeing all these places that are always in movies and on the Internet was a bit surreal, like living inside Google Images. Plus, I thought that spot on the right was perfect because you can get two big British icons squeezed into one picture.

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We took a walk through Hyde Park too, and met all these wonderful wildlife who were game enough for lots of photos (although the squirrel was a tad impatient).

And then we found a nice, spacious part with lots of lawn chairs for us to sit down and do nothing but appreciate the fresh air and nature around us.

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(We did this for about two minutes to take a photo)

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Lunch break—there wasn’t a lot of time so a group of us got sandwiches and fish and chips from a small food stall. We ensconced ourselves in a in a corner and ate in a circle in front of the wall. I tried a panini with cheese and peppers; toasty sandwiches are perfect for cold weather! I wanted the ciabatta but they were all out, so I ended up with this one. It was still tasty, though it was a bit huge for me to finish.

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There was an ice cream van, so I bought one! Vanilla soft cream in a chocolate-dipped oyster shell, and a flake sandwiched in between. Yumlove girl

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The Tower of London was surrounded by a spectacular sea of poppies. There were probably as many people as there were poppies—it took ages getting jostled by everyone before I could get a good view.

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The Tower of London was the most interesting attraction I visited in the UK, so it was a great pity that there was too little time to cover the entire grounds. I wanted to see the Crown Jewels, but the queue was so long it’d probably take a day and a half before I got my glimpse. We settled for the White Tower instead, and had a look around the old royal armouries. After that I really wanted to explore at least another tower, but there wasn’t enough time to waitcryI did see the ravens though, and the soldiers marching around!

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I’m sorry I’m blocking the view of the Tower Bridge…but there’re already tons of good pictures on Google, I need the photographic evidence that I was therehurhur

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A picture of the London Eye is mandatory even if you don’t actually sit on it.

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I also met the cutest dogs!

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And then for dinner I had wraps againhappyThis time they were stuffed with fish fingers and accompanied by a tiny salad on the side. I had them in another pub in Piccadilly Circus. We were in the Chinatown area so some of the teachers and students went to eat good old Chinese food, but my friends and I were still adamant about eating British so we went to a cosy pub instead.

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So that was the first proper day in London! After going to landmark after landmark I felt like I’d unlocked a slew of tourist achievements in a combo. It was amazing to finally see (part of) London for realsmile

UK Trip: Oxford

And now we’re in Oxford!

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I know I say I love every city I went to, but Oxford was one that lived up to every storybook fantasy I had of gorgeously old architecture and utter British-ness (my childhood books were pretty idealistic, admittedly). Of course I couldn’t cover the entire city, but every area I passed was almost straight out of a postcard whether it was the centre of town or the quiet streets of houses.

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The first stop was the Oxford University Press (we had to fulfil the educational part of our trip). There was a little museum inside that chronicled the history of print at Oxford; the collection of old books and tools were a pretty interesting exhibition to walk around.

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Like this big Bible and mini Bible! I wish I could’ve leafed through the pages (and thumbed through the little one) but they were all kept in glass. For obvious reasons, I know, but stillgirl

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And then I had a go at this printing press, which was a lot heavier than expected (but made for a good photo op). The museum guide showed me how to do it without losing my fingerskira kiraSpeaking of the guide, he had the most perfect, deep, gravelly voice that was straight out of a film trailer…just had to throw that in.

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Following the museum visit was a little shopping time on Cornmarket Street and the area around it. I was in an extra touristy mood that day and determined not to leave Oxford without getting a college T-shirt or sweater, so popped into one of the souvenir shops to get one. The hoodies were hugely tempting—I was already en route to the till until I suddenly reflected on the rationale of bringing a thick wool-lined jacket back to my fever-hot country.

I got a T-shirt in the end.

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In my quest for a souvenir to impersonate an elite college student at home, I sacrificed my eating time and had another sandwich for dinner. This was one from Pret A Manger, which I completely adore and wish I could import back herehappy girl

As for breakfast the next morning…

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Really. Of all places.

To be fair, the meeting point of our walking tour of the city was outside McDonald’s on Cornmarket Street, so it was convenient to bundle everyone there for an early breakfast and make sure we were on time.

Still I generally avoid fast food, and I don’t like meat much (except for fish). I was hoping for at least a little saving grace in the form of a fish fillet—but everyone got a McMuffin so I took out the entire patty and ate the rest. I’m sorry, meatcryBut anyway, it was still a decent breakfast because I like English muffins (sans patty).

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After breakfast we went on our walking trail! It was honestly one of my favourite parts of the entire ten-day trip. This is where I discreetly sing praise of my own selfless love for Oxford…because it rained for the entire two hours we walked and I’d forgotten to pack an umbrella and jacket. But I still loved it.

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Our guide for the day (who was handsome, eloquent and every bit the quintessential Oxford graduate) led us around the vast campuses and told endless stories about the college traditions and history. It was a bit like walking around with C.S. Lewis.

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Speaking of C.S. Lewis, we saw the lamp post that inspired him to write the Chronicles of Narnia, and the places he spent time at in Oxford. I may as well have been in Narnia.

We also took a walk past Christ Church College, the home of Alice in Wonderland. I would’ve taken lots, lots more pictures but each time I took my camera out my fingers got one step closer to frostbite. Once the tour was over I ran straight to Starbucks for a desperately needed hot chocolateargh bear

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Despite the rain and wet sweater and freezing wind, I had a glorious time at Oxford seeing all the grand places and hearing the stories that came from behind the walls. The tour guide did a great job keeping us all interestedneko

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We said goodbye to Oxford, and went for a side trip to Bicester VillagesmileIt’s an outlet mall with little houses of designer brands, of which most were too fancy for me to buy. Even the bathrooms came with luxury hand cream.

I didn’t mind not shopping because it was fun just to walk around the villagehappy

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But there was a Cath Kidston store packed with all its girly floral goodness, so I bought an apron and kitchen mitten back for my mom! They’re matching with a pink strawberry pattern, which my mom likes a lotnekoThe only thing is she still hasn’t quite gotten round to using yet; it’s become more of an ornament that she displays on our dining table.

Snapshots in Oxford

Some quick pictures of my time in OxfordcameraCaptioned (from left to right) Finally found that red phone booth of tourists’ dreams, Most valuable lamp post in the world, and My name has just been Starbucks-ed.

Next post: London!

Tiny Me

UK Trip: Leeds

Good morning!

I ended up posting only on a Tuesday because the last two nights I was up working on school things. New school semester blues, something like that.

After Manchester, the next stop on our trip was Leeds!

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If I have to describe UK with one word only, it would be charming. It’s not just an easy description for convenience’s sake either; there’s a real beauty in each different city that leaves different impressions in me.

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My favourite part of Leeds was walking around in town! I loved this cosy place with its pretty streets sprawling across the city, and an easygoing vibe that made me feel right at home.

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We had free time to find our lunch, and we weren’t picky about it so decided to just wander around and see what we could find. One of my favourite parts about the trip was exploring different places to eat. You didn’t have to think hard about it because everything was unfamiliar and fascinating and you just wanted to try something newhappy girl(Though obviously I passed on Asian food)

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Eventually we found this snug alley with lots of flowers and a little pub tucked inside, and ventured in (out of both curiosity and concern for our rapidly disappearing time). It was called The Ship, and was a warm, cheery pub with a very nice owner who went about chatting here and there about the food and calling us loves. I would move in if I could.

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I had veggie pie with peas and chips on the sidegirlBefore that I had a good browse; I liked looking at all the classic English pub food that I’d always read about in my books.

After lunch we headed to the University of Leeds for a tour! The place was so gorgeous I’m just going to let the pictures do the talking. Or serenading, like cherubs playing seraphic music on a cloud above while you walk and wonder how a university can look like a postcard from every possible angle.

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We got to meet the students there who spoke to us about life at Leeds, which was great but just made me really wistful. I think I’m just too impressed because my school doesn’t have a palatial campus with grand buildings or cobbled streets or a supermarket.

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Dinner in Leeds was the yummiest risotto at Bella ItaliaheartWe sat there for a good hour or so in the middle of the chatty dinner atmosphere, and also met a waitress with the prettiest pastel purple hair.

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The next morning we got up early to get ready for the day’s programme, and snuck in some photo time in the alleyway at the back of our hotel. After that it was time for a proper city tour of Leeds! The walking trail started at Leeds University, and brought us around the streets and buildings until we ended up at the Leeds Kirkgate Market.

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There is nothing easier to win me over than a quaint market packed with all sorts of colours and interesting smells. There’s so much character in every corner I’d need the whole morning to drift from stall to stall. (Not just being an overly impressed tourist either, I have a huge love for places like these)

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The covered market had lots of food stalls which I adored, but didn’t get to eat because there wasn’t much time to buy anything. A pity, because I really liked the look of the sweets and crepes and snacks I passedneko

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Look at this massive golden mountain of cashew nutslove rabbitI am a big fan of cashews and would eat them by the dozens if it were healthy to do so.

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That was our last stop at Leeds! We said goodbye to this sweet city and boarded the bus to our next destination—Oxford bound for the next few hourskira kira

Again there was only a quick stop for lunch, so I got a sandwich from Waitrose. I’d never get sick of sandwiches easily; I love eating bread, and it’s even better in UK when the sandwiches come in such fun and attractive packaginglove girlTake me shopping at Sainsbury’s or Tesco anytime!

UK Trip: Manchester

Hello!

I didn’t manage to post last week at all—sorry if Slice of Apple Cake went a bit stale. I disappeared because I was away in the UK! I’ve just come back from a school trip, and I had a really good ten days eating good food and pounding down the streets of England in the chilly weather.

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The route was like this: London Heathrow Airport → Manchester → Leeds → Oxford → London. We spent a day each in the first three cities, and then the remaining six days in London.

The first blog post will be about Manchester!

Our flight left at about 1am, so I was sleepy and completely buzzing at the same time. And then on the plane they served us dinner at two in the morning, which made it even weirder. But it was a good suppergoodI didn’t sleep much during the 12-hour flight, so I watched a lot of movies instead (at least I saved some good money on cinema tickets).

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As soon as we landed in Heathrow we had to catch a train to Manchester! Since it was too much of a hurry for a proper lunch, I got an almond croissant from a pastry shop at the station. It tasted like a dreamlove rabbit

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You need to see the soft doughy inside so be my guest and have another picture. I would really much rather let you eat the real thing but it’s 7,000 miles away.

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I can’t remember the last time I ate a croissant (that wasn’t out of a plastic box on the shelf either); this was fresh and flaky and pillowy soft and completely deserved the honour of being my first gastronomic affair in the UK.

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After spending three hours on the train—we played games and saw lots of cows and sheep—we arrived in Manchester! The sky had gone a bit gloomy, but at least it didn’t rain (yet). The first stop was Old Trafford Stadiumkirakira

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I’m not a Manchester United fan or even much of a soccer follower, but my dad is a huge fan so there must at least be a trace of it in my blood or something because I felt oddly excited when I went in (and not just because I visited the players’ dressing room).

I was genuinely interested in the trivia and history of the club, so I had a nice stroll in the museum and bought my dad a Manchester United mug with his name on it later on in the gift shopneko

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It was a good tour of Manchester United’s home stadium!

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After that was dinner; the first day’s meal was provided for us so all fifty-odd students packed into Nando’s and ate chicken and chips. I’m not much of a chicken eater, but the chips were really good.

The next morning we were still in Manchester!

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Breakfast was provided by the hotel we stayed in, and it was a little buffet-style English breakfast menu. It was an indulgence to get to eat so much in the morninglove girlGranola is one of my favourites so I had it almost every day, sometimes with scrambled eggs or a croissant and jam. Yum.

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We went to the National Media Museum, where we looked at retro arcade games and played around with the film equipment on exhibition (being media nerds students and all).

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While waiting at the gift shop I saw this shelf full of sweetssmileI always think traditional English sweets are adorable, so I bought quite a bit during this trip. The packaging alone is enough to make me sweep them off the shelf; they make great gifts.

That was the end of our Manchester stay! Apart from the Old Trafford and museum visit, we didn’t really do much (Nando’s is hardly a tourist attraction) and the city was kind of sleepy when I was there, but still nice and peaceful. The houses and streets were pretty, and that alone’s enough for mesmile

Next stop: Leeds!

Manchester Snapshots


Welcome ♡

▷ . Cheryl

I'm a university student in Tokyo blogging every weekend about cute food and cute places in Japan٩( ᐛ )و

Read my About Me ☆ to know more.

はじめまして!
大学一年生のシェリルです
毎週日本の可愛い食べ物や場所についてブログ更新していますヽ(´_`) /♪

よろしくお願いします

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