the day i went to the chelsea flower show

day thirteen in london 

Today was day-two of our weekend off in London and it was grand. Dorion and I started the day at Camden Market to look for some gifts/souvenirs. Several people suggested that I go to this market and Dorion said that I would be able to find what I needed to there, so we made the trek and it was nothing like what I expected! I thought it would be vendors set up along a street in little tents, but it was HUGE. Buildings upon buildings (old stables, actually) that had been converted into individual little stations for people to sell out of. There were shops in the stable stalls, in the hallways, and everywhere you turned outside there was another street of shops you could navigate through. It was crazy. We didn’t find exactly what I was hoping for but the experience was awesome. I felt like I smelt like smoke and incense all day, but hey, it was still worth it.

We headed back to the flats to regroup and I changed into warmer clothes. The thing about London is regardless of the high temperature for the day, there is a 99% chance that until about noon it will be overcast, windy and cold. And cold as in you need to be in jeans, a sweater, a scarf and a jacket. But then by 1pm, you are sweating and wishing that you were in shorts. It’s crazy. They told us to always layer for the day, but I never wanted to carry my layers as the day went on, so I stopped layering and would just be cold, but this morning I was too cold.

After a quick costume change, Dorion, Ralph, Holly and I went to Byron Burger for lunch. I had heard great things about it and was interested in trying it. Like I’ve said before, the thing that I have fallen in love with the most in London is the branding. I don’t know what makes the branding so incredible here in London, but I have discovered this new passion within the past couple of weeks and the Byron branding was no exception. Bright colored menus, perfect font choices, simplistic interior with steel table tops and metal chairs, classic white plates- everything about it was captivating to me. Oh, and the burger and milkshake were good too:)

Holly and I then wandered off to Leicester Square to try and find ‘THE” souvenir shop of London. It ended up being the same stuff that was spread out among all of the shops, just all in one place. After not buying anything in any of the tourist shops for the past two weeks, I gave in and bought a London, England t-shirt just for the sweet mems, ya know?

We headed back to the flats and were planning to just write thank you notes and have an easy night at home, but after I got off the phone with my adventure-loving guy, I realized that tomorrow is my last full day in London and that I needed to get out and get moving. No matter what it was that I ended up doing, I would at least be seeing more of this city that I had fallen so in love with over the past two weeks. I looked through a Timeout London and saw that the Chelsea Flower Market was wrapping up this afternoon and I wanted to try and get down there before it was too late. So I grabbed my stuff and ran out the door. When I got to Sloan Square, even the tube station was decorated with flowers- prettiest tube station I’d seen, but that didn’t take much. I wandered out of the station and realized that I had no idea where I was going. The tube took longer that I had expected and I had just missed the “official” event- called Chelsea in Bloom where stores decorated their storefronts with gorgeous flower garlands, sculptures, centerpieces- but luckily some of them still had their displays up so I still got to experience parts of it. It was gorgeous. Chelsea is such a quaint town and so I just wandered up and down the streets, in and out of neighborhoods, looking for more shops participating and just soaking it all in. I fell in love with that little town right then and there. I would live there in a heartbeat.

After looking around for a couple of hours, I was starting to get hungry and was trying to make it back to have dinner with a group at Exmouth Market, so I got on the tube to head back. I knew exactly what tube I needed to be on and where I needed to make my switch over and I was super confident. But then I made my switch and it wasn’t so easy. I switched trains and was sitting in the car for a while and it wasn’t moving. The driver then came on the intercom to let us know that the signals were out (like the red/green lights so each train knows when they can go) and that we would be waiting until they could get it fixed. I had directions to take a bus back to the flats, but that required going to another station and making a couple bus switches and I wasn’t 100% confident that I would be able to do it by myself and during rush hour, so I decided to just wait it out. After about 25 minutes, they said that they had fixed the computer and we were off.  I made it back to the flat after about an hour of traveling, so I just picked up a pizza and headed back to catch up with the girls.

We decided to have milkshakes before we spent our night packing, writing thank you notes and editing pictures, so we headed out to Dirty Burger at Exmouth Market.  

All in all it was an incredible day. I am SO glad that I wandered off to Chelsea by myself this afternoon. I fell even more in love with London and I am nowhere near ready to go back. I just wish my family and friends were here to experience it all too.

Annie Bradshaw