I’ve been waffling on about my semester abroad in London for a few posts now. (Please be warned: it’s not about to stop any time soon.) It’s been just over two months since I touched down across the pond, a fact that I still can’t quite comprehend. Even still, there’s no denying that I’m here….
I do still have classes, so it’s not like I get to spend all of my days exploring. I also don’t reside in Central London, sadly, which makes getting around to attractions slightly more difficult. But from the handful of times I’ve wandered around the city, I’ve certainly learned a lot…
- Regular brewed coffee is a rarity. While one can barely walk ten feet in Toronto before stumbling across a Tim Horton’s or independent coffee shop to grab a standard cup of coffee, here, asking for a regular coffee will either get you an Americano or a very strange look. I guess London subscribes by the European lifestyle where lattes and cappuccinos are it. In fact, I’ve frequented four Starbucks locations, two of which didn’t have brewed coffee available. (Mind you, the one time I did order a pike roast, it tasted suspiciously like straight up espresso…).
- Public bathrooms (especially in high-traffic, tourist areas) often require payment. Unfortunately, my love for coffee and tea combined with the fact that I live about 40 minutes away from Central London makes this little snag a personal nightmare. I’ve also learned that while Canadian restaurants that offer seating are legally required to have a public bathroom for their customers, in London, no such rule exists. You cannot imagine the number of restaurants I’ve rushed into hoping to find a bathroom and grab a quick bite.
- People walk significantly slower in London than they do in Toronto. I realize that Toronto (much like New York) is known for its fast-paced pedestrians, but I never quite grasped how slow people could walk until now. The number of times I’ve narrowly avoided stepping on someone’s heels…
- On the subject of walking, one of the most difficult things for me to adjust to has been London’s walking etiquette. What exactly do I mean by etiquette? Well, in Canada it’s fairly customary to walk on your respective right side. If two people are about to crash headlong into each other, a sidestep to their right will usually solve the problem. Here, the whole driving on the opposite side combined with conflicting stairs and escalator patterns has essentially led to a walking free-for-all mess. So if you ever find yourself on Oxford Street during rush hour, be prepared to do some serious body-dodging. And don’t even get me started on grocery aisles…
Differences aside, I do love it here. Which brings me to a second list of things I’m loving:
- The architecture is truly stunning. I’ve repeated countless times that I could stare at a British brick wall for hours; it just has that much character.
- Public transit baffles my mind every day. I look at the efficiency and enormity of the Tube and scoff at the TTC. The thing goes down like four storeys underground. How insane is that?
- Shopping is unbelievable. The Eaton Centre and Yorkdale pale in comparison to how many shops London has concentrated in one area. Westfield is like every shopaholic’s dream (and wallet’s nightmare…). But we’re not just talking about malls here. Walking down a street, you can pass three locations of the exact same store within a minute of each other. Whether that’s because of the demand or sheer convenience (read: laziness), I’m not complaining.
- People dress to the nines on a regular basis. Okay, so they’re not exactly sporting ballgowns and tuxedos 24/7, but the number of dresses, coats, and shoes that I’ve stared at longingly in the Tube is ridiculous. And men’s fashion is no exception. Take note lads, Ted Baker is your friend.
Now that I’ve prattled on for a good 600 words, shall we get to the nail portion of this essay? Meet my (somewhat inaccurate) Union Jack-inspired nail art:
Because sunshine and daylight is a fleeting rarity here, I didn’t get a chance to snap a shot of the polishes and equipment used to make this look. Forgive me, but here’s what everything in yet another list:
- Topshop’s Matte Nails in Venus
- Collection’s up to 7 Day Wear nail polish in Sonic Blue (23)
- Ciate’s Dangerous Affair
- Kiko’s Nail Art Glitter Tape
And the (not-so-close and slightly blurry) close-up shot:
Thanks for reading!
’til next time,
A/N: For just over two years now, Ry and I have been blogging about various nail-related topics here on MegRyann. From nail art designs to polish reviews, it’s no secret that we’re a tad nail obsessed. Having said that, from this point on I’m hoping to incorporate some of our other interests into posts. As you may know, Ry’s time is largely consumed by her medical studies, and hospital/clinic rules make it difficult for her to sport a manicure of any kind. Added to that, there are only so many times that a girl can change up her nail look in a week… That isn’t to say we won’t be posting nail art anymore; it will just be thrown in with a mash of other lifestyle material. So let this post be the first to contain non-beauty related content.