Today, I’ll be talking about the recent “coffee spree” I had with a very good friend of mine…ok so we didn’t go on a coffee spree, and simply wandered around London for a bit, but we did have two hot chocolates and a couple of snacks along the way.
Books, Manga and So Many Potential Gifts
So, our first stop on this tour is Waterstones. We were both running late, but I just so happened to be the earlier of the two of us, and while I was waiting, I found a Waterstones near Piccadilly Circus. It was a huge store! Never mind the two-floor bookshops that I’m used to down the high street. I am talking about SIX FULL FLOORS of books!
You don’t know how happy that made me! I just wanted to buy the entire shop; It was so big, but alas my budget didn’t factor in that many books. If you don’t know what Waterstones is (because who doesn’t?), it is a British franchise, specializing in (you’ve guessed it) books, and various other literature based novelties, like board games, card games, kid’s toys, CDs, DVDs, e-readers, etc. You can pretty much find everything educational and entertaining in these book stores, and if that’s not enough, they even have a section of Harrods dedicated to the books they sell.
You can even sit down and read their books, if you wanted to, just like in a library. Of course, you can’t study there, because they don’t have the tables, but if you find their hidden cafes inside, you might just be able to borrow a book or two, and sit down to do your work. For someone who used to read a lot back when she was younger, this place was a heaven for me, and I’d love to go back just to buy the classics that so intrigued me when I was a kid.
Let’s Hang Out!
So, after a few minutes (reading the classic Christmas tale A Christmas Carol), we finally met up and decided to go to the nearby Costa for some much needed catch up time. Now, I know you can find Costa Coffee on any high street in Britain, and those of you who live here and frequent the franchise already know about their selection of coffees and hot chocolates, but for those of you who don’t, here’s the rough breakdown
Their everyday coffee’s usually range from flat whites, to espressos, and they have a wide variety of syrups from caramel to cinnamon. However, since it’s Christmas season, they do include several flavours for the holiday. They have…
1. Gingerbread Lattes
2. Honey-combe Lattes
3. Salted Caramel Cappuccinos
And each one is just as delicious as the other. Of course, we can’t forget that they do have awesome hot chocolates. As someone who loves their hot drinks (even in the summer), I must say Costa does the best hot chocolates (out of all the big franchises I’m used to). They not only did they provide the regular syrups that they have, they also had the Christmas specials:
1. Black Forest Hot Chocolate
2. Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate
3. Orange Hot Chocolate
4. Mint Hot Chocolate
Ok, so I am biased (because I absolutely loved it when I first had it), but the Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate is the best! It totally tastes like marshmallows, I’m not joking, the syrup does taste like marshmallows! In fact, both my friend and I had it when we ordered our drinks. I would have gone for the Mint Hot Chocolate, but I couldn’t help it, I loved the Toasted Marshmallow too much!
Like I said in the beginning, we were going to have a coffee (or hot chocolate) spree, but when we got to talking, we just couldn’t stop, so we ended up having two snacks while we caught up with each other. So, around 4pm we started to wander the streets of London, which, as usual, was completely crowded, it was difficult to walk from one place to another, without bumping into bodies. Having said that, we found a small Christmas market by Costa.
It was based at St James’ Church, and it was rather quaint. They had many cute trinkets that were very tempting to buy. In the end, I bought more magic beads (which are small gel balls that you could use to fill vases, either as a decoration or for candles or plant cuttings, to decorate your homes), that way, whenever I get flowers for my birthday, or for any other occasions, we could keep them fresh for longer, thanks to the special quality of the balls. They’re biodegradable, and they absorb water and nutrients, if you feed it into the water.
Pit Stop At Starbucks
If you are familiar with my Instagram, you’d know I’m a big Starbucks fan, and as a rule, I make sure I have a taste of every Christmas special that the coffee franchise has to offer. I have had all three of their special lattes:
1. Gingerbread Latte
2. Toffee Nut Latte
3. Eggnog Latte
However, the best drink they’ve made so far, this Christmas is their special…
Fudge Hot Chocolate
This is, by far, the best hot chocolate Starbucks have ever made. In the past, I have had disagreements (mostly with myself) about their hot chocolates. They used to be grainy and the texture would leave a dry taste in your mouth, but this one…MY GOODNESS! This one was by far the smoothest and creamiest, delicious heaven I have ever tasted! Ever since my first tentative sip of the chocolatey goodness I fell in love (not to mention it has gold chocolate flakes if you have it with cream).
If you ever stop by a Starbucks, I highly recommend their Fudge Hot Chocolate…there are really no words to describe it…it’s chocolate heaven, that’s all I can say!
Get Lost In London
After all those drinks and snacks, you’d expect us to need the bathroom…well, you’re right, I did need the bathroom, but the queues! Let’s just say, we travelled quite a while before I finally settled to queue up at McDonalds, even then it was quite a wait! Nevertheless, it’s all about the journey, and I didn’t need to go that badly. So, we wandered around London for a bit, and found our way to Carnaby Street, which chockfull of designer shops and little businesses!
Most of these shops were little less than small rooms, and for some, it would most likely take less than 10 steps to see the entire shop. It honestly felt like I was in Diagon Alley, and I had forgotten my purse full of sickles, knuts and galleons!
Fandoms and Fashion
After wandering the small and crowded streets, we finally found our way back onto Oxford Street, where the big names are (I’m talking about Primark, Accessorize, PC World, etc), and we found our way inside one of our favourite shop Tiger. If you want to find cheap Christmas or birthday presents, Tiger is the best place to go to. You could buy robot sets for around £5 – £10, and they’d be good quality too!
Last year I bought all my friends a Christmas gift from Tiger, and that was on the £150 my mom gave me for my monthly allowance, never mind my salary! Both my friend and I just wished we had our salaries, we could have bought the entire store! In the end we left, with only one item (which was for me), and wandered further towards Tottenham Court Road and Shaftsbury Avenue, where we found the perfect place to satisfy our fandom needs.
There is a shop on Shaftsbury Avenue, you could easily walk by, without noticing, called…
This is the place for the daydreams of nerds, geeks and dorks alike! The store has everything from memorabilia to anthologies and textbooks; providing for fandoms from Harry Potter, Game of Thrones to Sailor Moon (an anime, if you don’t know). It literally has everything for a fangirl or fanboy to swoon over! Of course, it’s still a big company, but only for those of us who know of it (that’s right, I’m talking to you nerds!).
With its association with major franchises like Marvel; like Harry Potter; like Game of Thrones, its products are rather expensive, but perhaps if you’re ready to be broke for an entire month, I suggest you buy what you can at this store. The cheapest item I could find at that store was somewhere between £6.99 and £9.99, so be careful, choose your items wisely.
Well, that was rather long-winded, but it was quite a fun journey. If you haven’t already checked these places out, I highly recommend you do. Just be sure you have enough money to spend, London is quite expensive, and you might just find yourself with a negative balance at the end of the day, but hey, at least you’ll get some cool new stuff, right?
So, it’s your turn. Have you been to these places before? What did you think of them? What was your favourite festive drink, or café? Let us know in the comments below, and perhaps you might just inspire me to try it for myself (if I have the budget for it). I’ll see you all next time, when I go explore Westfield, in Shepherds Bush! I’m sure by the end of the day, I’d have lost my salary to the various things that I would need to buy for Christmas, but you never know!
This is Feather, signing out!