Monday, September 20, 2010

What a thrill in Notting Hill

I woke up Saturday morning with a mission - I HAD to go visit Notting Hill.  Not only had the movie inspired me (which I obviously watched a week before I moved to London), but every time you mention that area to someone around here, they say that it is a cute area, with beautiful homes and nice shops....I was soo excited to look around myself!!
I checked out of the employee long term housing facility, got direction from the receptionist...and headed towards the famous Oxford Street.  It’s like Times Square in London!!  The street is lined with really fun shops...obviously I had to stop into at least ONE!!!  So I went into a store called TOPSHOP (it’s all caps...I’m not yelling again).  It is soooooo crazy in this store!!!!  It has a cafe that is kinda like a mini super market, a hair salon, eyebrow/waxing station, nail salon, and whatever else was in a hidden corner.  I was seriously getting light headed being in there.  There were a MILLION ppl, a TRILLION things to look at....great my head is spinning again just thinking about it!!!  BUT THE CLOTHES!!!!  Oh the CLOTHES!!!!!!  
-- my heart goes weak --
This store is soo cool...I love it.  They even have a sparkly cupcake area....heaven!!!  Now why hadn’t I thought about this??  I could have been a GAGILLIONAIRE by now!!!
So I got a call from one of my coworkers asking if I had plans for the day - and I did - Notting HILL!!!!!!!!!  She agreed to meet me there.  
The night before, a bunch of my coworkers and I went to a pub across the street from my work.  It was a Friday night and a perfect time to have my first Fish and Chips in London too!!  I got it with some ‘mushy peas‘ - a typical side with F & C’s. 

When I arrived at Notting Hill Gate Station, it was CRAZY!!!  People were milling in and out, you could barely move!!  Saturdays are the days when Portobello Road is filled with people, vendors, and best of all - an outdoor market!!!  

We spent hours walking slowly, checking out all of the knick-knacks and taking in all of the sights, sounds and smells around us.  

It was just as I thought it would be....pastel houses sat side-by-side along the street, the aroma from the fresh bread stand filled the air, the colours that make you want to smile beamed from the flower stands.  It was a perfect day.  Sunny, warm, relaxed...I feel like I’m on vacation...and in a way, I am!!!  The many places around me that have always seemed to be so far away are right in front of me now!!     

We first stopped at a cute coffee shop that had people bursting out of the door...all waiting for their expresso or cappacino’s.  I got a London second favourite drink...and man did they make good!!  I didn’t ask for non-fat milk...and I think that made ALL the difference!!  

Next I bought this great Chirozo soup with chickpeas that I could smell from a mile away - literally.  It was simmering in a HUGE pot where all of the ingredients finally met after being cooked till perfection in individual skillets (will definitely include my pics here too)!! 

We found a cute street off Portobello road, to the side of all of the madness, and ate on someone’s doorstep.  The sun was shining down on us and the food was warming us from the inside.  I could only eat half b/c I HAD to save room for some pastries!!!  I got a pain au raisin....which was bigger than my head, and sure enough, it was gone in moments.
We moseyed back to where we had begun, with a belly-full and a grin on our faces!!!
The receptionist at the employee long term housing facility held my bag for me, so I went back to collect it before heading back to Reading.  The tube was nuts because a lot of the bus service was closed due to the Pope being in town.  
When I got back, I heard some great news...the son of the family I am living with was on the radio with his band...they were being hyped up HUGE by the radio announcer, it was amazing!!  They are such a talented group that success is imminent, inevitable and a dream come true for such hard working people!!  You should hear their’d think they were superstars already!!  If I get permission, I will include a link so you can listen..they are soo great!!
The daughter had her going away ‘leaving’ party that night it was a busy day!!!  I also did all my wash and cleaned all of the things that were piling up since I’ve arrived.  It felt good to get that all out of the way!
Sunday I went for a jog...and got lost...obviously.  The roundabouts made me run in circle I think, well I’m not even sure where I went because after going into a convenience store to ask them where the heck I was, I entered the subdivision at a different side than when I had left it....I was sooo messed up!!!  My knee was KILLING one point I had shooting pains that made it feel numb (that’s never happened before) and it SUCKED.  I walk/ran the rest of the way.  I was listening to my iPod and heard a song that reminded my of my boyfriend and made me at first shocked to hear it (the songs were on my iPod from my sisters playlist and I hadn’t thought she would have uploaded a song by that artist) and then feel sad too because I made him a scrapbook for our anniversary with the lyrics of this song quoted throughout it.  I couldn’t help thinking of my sisters too when Jack Johnson came on  =(  Thank GOD the rest of the songs were ones I didn’t really know, or else that jog would have been a sob-fest instead!!!!
I took my time getting ready and then we all went out for a family dinner (I am a honourary member) at this super ‘posh’ (I find they use this term a lot to talk about really fancy or glamourous places) Indian restaurant.  It was soo yummy!!  The rest of the day I Skyped my family, boyfriend and was great!!  I also planned out all of my outfits for the week and ironed the things that needed to be ironed.
Today - Monday, was a day filled with looking for flats and having people trying to scam me soooo hard.  The response back from these people who I had sent an email to regarding their flat was soo long-winded and filled with lies so that I would feel sorry and  would send them money through Western Union, as they had requested.  YA RIGHT....seriously people????   No problem, let me run to WU and wire you 2000 pounds...that’s like $3500 - PUHHHH-LEEEEZZZZZ!!!!!
After work was done I came home to a wonderful stir-fry and the best part - the guy I’m living with was on the radio again!!!!  I swear, he will be soo famous and I will look back and be soo happy I knew him during this pivotal time in his life!!
I feel like I wanted to include something else, but I forget....
It’s 1:40 AM....I NEED to sleep!!!!!  Waking up in 4!!!
I will post pics this week - I PROMISE!!!  
Miss you all!!!  
PS- I LOVE reading your comments, please add them below!!!


  1. Marla.. send me your skype name. And i'm obviously an idiot because I don't know how to be a follower on this thing. So I will just check it as I normally do (just pretend like i'm under "followers". Sounds like you're having suchhhh a good time! Miss you!

  2. Marla, thanks for sharing with all of us your great adventure(s).

  3. YES Marla, you ARE on vacation (days just mixed in with having to work in-between!) Your weekend adventures sound s-o-o fun --- I feel as though I was there, too! I didn't realize what an amazing writer you are - I love Love LOVE reading your posts.

    xoxox A LA

  4. You do not disappoint...another entertaining post. I am so thrilled that you are keeping this personal/public journal. It will revive these precious memories in years to come. Keep on exploring. You will be so familiar with London (and surrounding areas) by the time I visit with you that I won't have to pay for a tour guide! Be safe and enjoy every moment. All my love. Mom

  5. Hi Mar!! Only five more sleeps till I'm in London :-). Can't wait to see you and hear in person all about your amazing adventures - although I am LOVING reading your blog. Let me know if there's anything you want me to bring...

    I will try to Skype you this week - I am in meetings all week so may be tough - will at least send my flight details.

    Until Saturday!
    A.L xx

  6. Why am I not surprised that out of your 8 post, you have already mentioned pain au raisin twice! Typical!
    Trust me, based on my experience in France, those things add up and before you know it, you thought Claire's mom shrunk your clothes but really you gained 40 pounds!

    Anyways, Good luck with the flat finding! I am sure this week you wil meet someone at work.
    Your post take me away from the craziness of school into a dream land! Love it!. Love you more!

  7. Marla, I'm so happy that you've shared your blog with me. I love reading about your adventures and experiences. It sounds like you're really enjoying yourself which makes me really happy. I don't think many people would have been able to do what you've done and I personally think it's amazing! I've read from the beginning and laughed and even gotten a bit teary eyed. I'm wondering if I'm the only person who doesn't know what a pain au raisin is though?!

    Hope you eat well, sleep well, and continue to enjoy your travels.

    Miss you and can't wait to come visit <3


  8. Marla, Marla, Marla!

    Amazing to read another post from you : ) For some reason, I still can't grasp the fact that you're ACTUALLY living in London, England.... These stories of yours seem like a vacation - just like you mentioned. I'm so happy that you're doing great because you deserve it! Since I'm pain au raison deprived, have another for me tomorrow. I'd reallyyyyy appreciate it :) Love you so much and I'll e-mail you when I have a few more spare minutes tonight.
    Love love love!!

  9. I second that Jessica. Have a pain au raisin for me too.

    ADD MORE!!!!

  11. Isn't it neat to go onto little adventures. You make Notting Hill sound fantastic, so much so that I will have to check it out the next time I'm in London!