Emotion, Food, Life, Travel

I see England, I see France

I’ve been traveling so much these days! It’s great, it really is, but it’s also nice to have weekend at ‘home’ (home being Amsterdam.) Over the past month I’ve spent weekends in London, Disley, Oxford, D√ľsseldorf/Bonn and Maastricht, in England, Germany and the Netherlands, respectively.

And I fully understand the benefits of a backpackers backpack now. However, I have a laptop with me, so I have this little rolling suitcase/laptop case. It is really great, but not fun when in a rush or when walking on cobblestone! (Note: when walking on cobblestone, I usually pick it up, hence the annoyance.)

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The brand, London Fog, is so fitting for me, since I’m a proclaimed Anglophile (who isn’t though?). It has “Big Ben” on every zipper ;). When I was buying it, it was next to a Parisian brand that had Eiffel Towers all over it. These brands know who their target markets well, that’s for sure.

So anyway, each weekend I bring like, 1.5-2 outfits, because that’s all I can fit with all the other stuff I’m bringing – journals, laptop, sometimes work stuff. I just have to get creative with my clothes, trying to make them look like I wasn’t wearing it the day before, or sleeping in it.

When I went to London a few weeks ago, I had breakfast with a blogger friend of mine, Sara, from realfunfood.com. I’ve always loved reading her blogs, because I feel like they’re perfectly catered towards me – a young female living in London and likes cooking and fitness and other geeky things. So it was very cool to meet up with her! It was tough picking a restaurant out of all the wonderful options, but we picked one called the Electric Diner in Notting Hill. The restaurant looked super cool and the location was great. I love Notting Hill and I don’t think I could ever get bored wondering through Portobello Market, which we did after breakfast!

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Photo courtesy of Sara at realfunfood.com. ūüėČ

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Then I had to rush to the show Les Miserables, which was unsurprisingly fantastic. The only unfortunate thing is that I’ve been exposed to the story so many times now, I think the emotional effect it should have on me is waning…. it’s unfortunate, so (once I finish the book!) I’ll take a break from it for a while. It’s the same concern I had about Harry Potter, haha.

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Who wants one?:

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Is it just me or did they crop the photo on that bag really poorly?

And then I walked to South Bank to meet my friends for dinner and I unexpectedly and delightfully came across Trafalgar’s Square, which was as beautiful as it’s ever been, give or take a couple more blue rooster statues.

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Kim, Warwick Davis was inside this building, below. I’m pretty sure that was his last day of the show, too. (I should specify, the building with the “Spamelot” sign, not the old green taxi station.)

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Looking at the photo below, it’s taking my breath away even now, if that tells you how beautiful the view was in person.

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Right around where I was meeting my friends for dinner, I passed by this outdoor food market, that served hot meals from all ethnicities. It smelled¬†amazing. You have no idea. I told myself that next time I was in London I was definitely getting food from there! However, I¬†was in London the very next weekend, but didn’t make it out there. But¬†NEXT time I’m in London, I really will. For sure.

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And here’s my friend Seb’s photo of the restaurant we went to. By the time I got there it was dark… because I went to the wrong Wahaca! There are two in South Bank! I definitely recommend going to Wahaca, but make sure you know which one you’re going to. I felt so stupid, because I’d given them the address of the right Wahaca myself, and then I went to the wrong one. That’s what happens when you rely too much on the internet and then you unexpectedly don’t have it anymore…

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And for those fans of Pride & Prejudice, I¬†definitely¬†recommend going to Disley, a little town near Manchester. It’s got the Pemberley Estate from the BBC mini series of Pride & Prejudice! I was sooo excited to go, pretending I was Elizabeth Bennet instead of Elizabeth Berens, taking a turn around the gardens at Pemberley.

And I can’t let this irony slip past you: I, Elizabeth, walked out of the courtyard at Pemberley to be unexpectedly greeted by Mr. Darcy himself, soaking white shirt and all.

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The very next weekend, I returned to England to visit my friend in Oxford! She’s just started there 3 weeks before my visit, so it was all new and exciting and surreal. Though, to be honest, I don’t think the omg-is-this-really-my-life-I-go-to-bloody-Oxford feeling will ever fully go away.

I’m seriously seeing Swatches everywhere now. Every airport has them, every flea market! I got one for Sara from an Amsterdam flea market and I remember thinking, “Omg, it’s so lucky this flea market has them!”

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There’s a cool covered market in Oxford. It’s got higher end goods, like boots and vintage clothing, along with product, meats, cafes and lots of cool trinkets. I was in the market for boots, so I went into many of the boot shops, but none of the sales people paid much attention to me. I felt a bit like Julie Roberts in¬†Pretty Woman when she tries to buy nice clothes while wearing her hooker clothing. Haha, no, I was normally dressed, but still not looking the part, I guess. I scoffed a bit at them, but then I looked at the price, cringed, and walked out. So it goes.

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And now ladies and gentlemen, Oxford:

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Did anyone recognize some¬†Harry Potter¬†locations? Yepp, that’s right – the staircase to the great hall, the room they had Yule Ball dance lessons and the courtyard where Draco turns into a ferret – all at Oxford. There was also the Restricted section of the library, but you had to pay for a tour and we didn’t have that much time.

Then we were a bit peckish so we got scones and tea! Of course they were good, but they still don’t match the scones I had at the YHA St. Pancras Hostel!

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After tea time, we decided it was time for another kind of drink, so we headed to the Eagle and Child, a bar famously frequented by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

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They even had board games!

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And though the menu at Eagle and Child had delicious-looking British grub, we weren’t too hungry, so we decided we’d have a night in with pizza, beer and the IT Crowd. I’ve been living on my own for a while, and despite being in¬†Oxford, England, I was really wanting a girl’s night in with my friend. And anyway, the night before, we’d gone to Formal and out to several bars (including one in an old church with very high gothic ceilings!)

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I had to leave the next day because I was also spending a day in London! I met up with a fellow MSU graduate for drinks and also with Sara again! Her boyfriend, also American, met up with us too. First we went to this very cool art deco 1920’s speakeasy-style bar. I definitely want to go back there someday too. Then we went into Chinatown for dinner and little fish-shaped desserts! I had such a great time!

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And then I found out Dan Radcliffe had a stage show in London. :O Gaaah, maybe next time I’m in London.

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Oh, and if you’re wondering about the “I see France” part of my blog title, I’m headed to Paris for a trade show in a couple weeks, for work! I’m meeting up with my friend and colleague from work there too! I can’t wait!

Cheers!

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Advertising, Emotion, Life

Volkswagen is quite possibly the best advertising on earth.

Volkswagen advertising started out strong with these amazing ads:

 

where they blatantly ¬†point out a deficiency in their product, that somehow ends up being a positive aspect of Volkswagens. But I don’t love their advertising because VW is pointing out self-deficiencies – it’s because they’re making fun of themselves; they’re being funny and clever and connecting with the audience on a more personal level.

I just saw this ad from Volkswagen:

I’m in love with it. VW doesn’t just sell cars, they sell emotions and lifestyles. They’re promoting getting in your car and seeing people, about taking chances and going for it. They want you to live a better life, and their car can be there to help you do it.

Check our VW’s “Fun Theory”:

And below are some of my other favorites, both recent and ‘vintage’:

This one is more product-feature focused, but it still uses that good ol’ charm we all love.

Just look at that ^. Doesn’t it just make you giggle a bit? It makes me so pleasantly happy looking at it. I just wanna give it a hug, you know?

Check out more awesome Volkswagen ads here.

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