400 Oxford Street, W1 London
Information from ILUVLIVE:
Launched in London in June 2004, ILUVLIVE is a live event success story. With few live showcases open to home grown music, ILUVLIVE has helped numerous performers present their artistry with a full live band to music industry virtuosos, journalists and fans alike. Since its launch ILUVLIVE has showcased the likes of Jessie J, Kano, Taio Cruz, Bashy, Chipmunk, Tinchy Stryder, Katy B, Ndubz, Roll Deep, Donaeo, DJ Ironik, Crazy Cousinz, Ms Dynamite, Natty, Eliza Doolittle, Plan B, Sway and Tinie Tempah often years before they became famous.
Each night features six acts all playing with a live band plus the ILUVLIVE 60 second open mic which has now reached legendry status. Even established acts sometimes get involved, just for the hell of it, alongside newcomers. Anyone can sign up for the open mic but the 8-12 slots fill up fast and the competition is ferocious with the act most popular with the audience winning a coveted slot at our next show.
6AM We arrived!
Oxford Circus [shopping]
By 11AM we were all settled in and we hit none other than Oxford Circus. This is the major mainstream shopping area of central London. Visiting this area was both an errand and part of the experience. I needed to top up my London phone, and I also wanted to show Raeana the area and what was there. With about 3 major department stores in addition to other specialty stores, and restaurants, there’s plenty to do, get done, and take in in this little area. We stayed here all morning.
This is a chain restaurant in London that has what many would expect in terms of traditional London food. We stopped here for a quick breakfast before starting the day. I had salmon with eggs and toast while Raeana, seeking a traditional British breakfast got the eggs complete with mash toast and salmon. I passed on the mash.
Self Ridges – Ocean Project [I've done a separate post devoted to this exhibit HERE]
400 Oxford St.
London, Greater London W1A 1AB
We couldn’t help but stop as we walked past a giant window of Self Ridges showing a manequin wearing a bubble dress in the middle of a coral liter. We actually did not know it was part of Self Ridges and thought we may have stumbled upon a museum exhibition, but upon entering right in its on corner on the main floor of the department store was an extravagant fashion exhibition called “Washed Up” curated by Judith Clark and showcasing pieces from Alexander McQueen to Gareth Pugh.
Marble Arch [sights]
After the circus, we walked around my old neighborhood (I lived right around the corner from the BBC Radio offices) and then walked down to the Marble Arch area. Its a park area filled with interesting statues and fountains. Surprisingly, the park areas aren’t the cleanest (with cigarette butts and pieces of wrappers and trash in the grass area) but despite that its a nice place to sit, rest up and also do a bit of observing.
YOSUSHI- At Royal Festival Peir [restaurant]
Royal Festival Hall
Has to be my absolute favorite sushi place in London. Its the perfect balance of a fun atmosphere, cheap eats, and good sushi. The sushi comes out on conveyer belts so you eat as soon as you sit down! And, if you order the soup or the Green Tea, you get an unlimited amount of refills. The cherry on top is the blue plate monday special where everything costs only 2pounds and 20 pents. There are YoSudhi locations all over London, but this location is right on the SouthBank right next to the National Theatre and has lovely view of the river. This location has outdoor seating with conveyor belt action as well.
National Theatre [landmark/theater]
London, Greater London SE1 9PX
This is a treasure of London’s culture. Its government funded and supported in order to allow anyone to be able to afford to see a play here. With a mix of classics, and new pieces this theater has a bit of something for everyone. This theater took years to become established but now its thriving and living up to the vision of its founders. You’ll also find a cafe nestled in the main lobby area and there is often live music during the evening, free of charge.
Cargo- East London ILUVLIVE [nightlife] — Click HERE for full post.
83 Rivington Street
London EC2A 3AY
Local talent gets a chance to shine in the spotlight at the ILUVLIVE showcases. Attend this for a great night out to listen and vibe out to some good music, and mix and mingle with London’s young hip movers and shakers.
This was the unofficial tourist day for Raeana where we did all the touristy things that you just have to do when you’re in London. But we didn’t really have time for everything, and ended up spending a long amount of time at Tower Bridge.
NBC News London office
We paid NBC’s London bureau a visit. I worked with them when I lived their last Spring. It was great catching up with them. There office acts as the international headquarters for all the stories that happen outside the US. There is no NBC station in London, so everything they produce is aired on the American NBC network, however, sometimes content is shared with the British partner station ITV.
If you haven’t already check out my package I produced while there last Spring.
89 Marylebone High St
btw Paddington and Moxon Sts
London, UK W1U 4QW
I was disappointed to learn that my absolute favorite restaurant in London was closed and replaced by a completely new one! So, we were lucky enough to discover a new alternative to fish and chips. It had the same great taste, just enough crisp to the beer battered cod, but not too much, and thick fries. Yum!
London Dungeon [attraction]
28-34 Tooley Street. London. SE1 2SZ
This was the one thing, besides a visit to Alexander McQueen’s house, that Raeana requested. Even though its a bit cheesy, its still fun, and you learn a bit about London’s history through the little stories they take your through about Jack the Ripper, the Plague and other past legends and horrors. Its essentially an interactive haunted house, London style, and actors take you through different scenarios, and there are even a couple of rides. The best is at the end when you get “hung.”
Dim T [restaurant]
London, Greater London SW1V 1
This restaurant has the most amazing view of Tower Bridge. Tower Bridge happens to be my most favorite London landmark (its just gorgeous day or night). We walked to Tower Bridge after London Dungeon and just took in the site, sat on the bank, and took photos. Then to our surprise realized there were three amazing restaurants behind us. This restaurant, Dim T is right in the center and has the most reasonable prices. It was very unexpected due to the look of the place and its prime location but we ate very hearty meals, ordered a bottle of wine and had a kettle of tea for a very reasonable rate.
This was Raeana’s go-see/fashion day. But somehow we got diverted and took in a bit of the East London area near Brick Lane. We didn’t have time to stop at Brick Lane, famous for its Indian restaurants but it was nice to stroll throughout the surrounding area. I also had aimed to visit Wah Nails while there but again, we didn’t have time.
We hit Big Ben, Parliament and the Burberry Global Headquaters all in one swoop.
Savile Row &Ozwald Boateng [fashion]
I didn’t take any photos here because I didn’t want to embarass myself. But this little street is a historic area in the fashion world, and known for expert tailoring and providing life changing apprenticeships for world reknown designers like Alexander McQueen. And the iconic store Ozwald Boateng is the go to place for the sharpest pieces in mens fashion dressing the likes of Kanye West and Pharrell just to name a few.
Harvey Nichols [store/attraction]
109 – 125 Knightsbridge
London, UK SW1X 7RJ
Stop by here to check out the amazing window displays in honor of Alexander McQueen featuring iconic pieces from his couture collections.
This place is a must visit, home of the top fashion and the cutest little trinkets, bags and tea! Even if you aren’t here to shop, this store is an experience and you’re bound to pick up at least a keychain. Also, there’s a display for Princess Diana featuring an iconic ring of hers that is a must see.
IceBar [attraction] *see video above for footage of the inside of the bar
31-33 Heddon Street
off Regent St
City of London, LDN W1B 4BN
020 7478 8910
Everything is made out of ice, the tables chairs, walls and even the glass. You’re given insulated parkas to wear and gloves. However, its recommended you wear something that covers your entire foot, no sandals or flip flops, because your feet will definitely freeze (or go numb). You must make reservations in advance. You get one glass included and additional glasses can be bought for 6 pounds. Afterwards, there are plenty of places to eat. You can eat at the restaurant attached to the icebar, or any of the restaurants in the square just outside of the icebar.
This was the last day, and Raeana couldn’t leave London without seeing the palace.
Buckingham Palace [landmark]
7 Buckingham Palace Rd.
London, Greater London SW1W
We got there close to 12 and caught the ending of the morning crossing of the guards and it was just the perfect timing because we saw them marching down the street and no one had come o that part of the road yet. We took a couple of photos, walked around the area and then hopped on the tube.
Somerset House [museum]
Westminster, Greater LondonWC2R 1LA
020 7845 4600
We checked out the Ai Weiwei Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads exhibition. You can opt to have a guided tour of the bronze statues or just waltz in and take a gander at the large statues that surround the beautiful fountain in the main area of the Somerset house. [exhibit up only until June 26th]
Camden Market [stores, restaurants, attractions]
Chalk Farm Road
I met a friend here, and showed Raeana the market area, though she wasn’t too impressed. The stable area is a good place to visit to, its where Proud camden is and there is usually always something going on there. But the short journey we had was coming to a close and we we dashed off to Heathrow and had to actually grab lunch at the airport. Lucky for me there is a Yo Sushi in the airport and I was able to endulge in that experience for the last time until the next visit!
Other Must Visit Places:
402 kingsland road
Living Room [restaurant]
3-9 Heddon Street
London, UK W1B 4BE
The Breakfast Club [restaurant]
33 D’Arblay Street
London, UK W1F 8EU
9 Conduit Street
London, W1S 2XG
Dover street market
Brick lane -For world famous Indian food
To view the first initial sneak peak click HERE.
I’ve just begun to skim the surface of what London has to offer. I’ve been in London for a few weeks now and I am just beginning to orientate myself. From the moment I landed things were completely different. My first encounter in the airport was just one of many learning experiences. The woman at the counter rang me up and she asked me “For here, or Take Away?” and I said, “To Go” and she looked at me strange and said (again) “Take Away?” and I then realized that “to go” doesn’t exist here apparently.
London’s architecture and everything about it almost makes me feel as if I am in a different time period. From the cars, to the buildings, to the language– things are drastically contrasted to the skyscrapers and the modern sleekness of NYC.
Read more for pictures and tid bits of what I have been up to so far….
Of course, I am at NBC even when I am abroad. It’s my home away from home!
I’ve been meeting up with so many people! I met up with Andre Singleton, who is from Brooklyn and just happened to also been in London. He has an amazing spirit and just went over to Amsterdam and I’ll be visiting soon!
That’s me and Damaris, another fellow Brooklyn girl who was here in London for a few weeks!
I’ve been seeing a lot of plays. So far, I’ve seen Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Waiting for Godot, Rope and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Of all that I’ve seen thus far Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was the best! I was invited by the producer who is an amazing power woman (will be interviewing her soon. She also invited me backstage and I had a nice chat with James Earl Jones.
I also went to check out some local markets.