Posts Tagged ‘Markets’

Borough Market Bonanza!

I have been dying to go to Borough Market since I arrived in London and I finally made the trek there today! I started the day off right by meeting up with four lovely ladies from my course for a mid-morning brunch near the market at The Table Cafe on Southwark Street. If you’re looking for delicious food in a perfect price-range, this place is definitely worth hitting up. We all had fantastic breakfasts (I got the eggs florentine — delish!) and it was around £40 for the five of us, including drinks (check out there delish breakfast menu here).

After we were thoroughly fed and caffeinated we hit up Borough Market! You may recall my visit to Spitalfields & Brick Lane earlier in the year where there was a load of amazing foods tempered with a fantastic mix of arts, crafts and vintage goodies. Borough Market is different from Spitalfields and Camden Markets in the sense that it is just food. For being a market dedicated to deliciousness, it’s actually quite huge! There are goodies to feed any appetite: ridiculous amounts of cheese, homemade jams, granola, meats, cakes, cookies and mulled cider on every corner. Here’s a bit of a pictorial tour:

{Row after row of nuts, dried fruits and chocolate-covered everything!}

{My friend, M., was like a kid in Costco on Saturday when she saw this stand.
I have never seen so many marinated goodies in one place!}

{Loads of stands selling fresh fruits and veggies! If I wasn’t heading to Malta tomorrow, I would probably have picked some up!}

{Mulled wine & cider on every corner for £3. Make sure you have some coinage handy — shopping is always so much better with mulled wine in hand.}

{How cute are these shortbread owls?! This stand had the most delicious looking cookies ever! I picked up some gingerbread and oat cookies plus some ginger flapjacks for my flatmate. Mmm!}

Now this stand below, Spice Mountain, was one of my faves in the whole market! Mind you, there were loads of great places, but I’m a sucker for cool goodies that you would probably only ever see on the Food Network.

If you’re like me and enjoy cooking in your free time, this stand has some seriously cool herbs, spices and specialty spice blends. Think things like mango powder, lemon grass stalks, spearmint salt, sumac and tamarind. Their selection is seriously endless, plus a great place to grab spice blends for ethnic cuisine night! You can also order online — they have some really cute gift sets, too!

Definitely a fun way to spend a weekend morning! Borough’s normally only open Thursday through Saturday (8A- 5P), but they actually have special hours for Christmas, with the market operating nearly every day beginning on the 20th of December. Check it out and drop me a comment to tell me what you think!

Anyone else have any favorite markets to check out?


Stash Some Cash!

Yesterday I was looking at my savings account and decided to convert the dollar figure to a more useful currency — pounds. How disappointing. Although the exchange rate isn’t awful, the dollar is definitely weak when up against the pound. Since traveling and sightseeing are number one on my list, saving money elsewhere is key to keep my account comfortable. Here are some good tidbits to get more bang for your buck/quid:


Pick up an Oyster Card.

This is a must for everyone, but for those that are planning on using public transportation on a daily basis to reach their destination, this will be incredibly beneficial. The Oyster card basically makes your trips on any given day as inexpensive as possible by calculating the cheapest routes. It can be used on the bus, Tube, trams, DLR, London Overground and even some National Rail services. You can do the pay-as-you-go deal or the auto top-up, which automatically adds x amount of £ after your balance falls under £5.

Making Cookies 004

Don’t Eat Out {Often}.

Obviously, grabbing a bite to eat or meeting everyone at the pub after class is a social adventure, but eating out every night — how long does that take before you realize you’re literally eating up your travel money? I happen to be a big fan of cooking, and fortunately for everyone there are a number of ASDAs, Sainsbury’s and even a Whole Foods nearby! Why not stock up on food & drinks and prepare your own food at home? Or have people over for dinner! It’s just as good as going out (but way cheaper)!


Be a Smart Tourist.

I think one of the greatest things about studying in another country is the idea of exploring your new turf. Due to the fact that London, much like NYC, has a million things to do and see, checking out tourist attractions can be a little too exciting. Entry fees don’t run cheap at the London Eye and the hop on-and-off double decker tourist buses come at a decently hefty price tag. Instead, there are so many places that you can visit for free! Loads of museums, including the prestigious British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum are totally free to visit. The gorgeous parks don’t charge an entry fee and Westminster Abbey? Sure, you’d pay the £13 that they request for entry (worth every pound, mind you), but why pay when you can hit up a Sunday mass for free and get a glimpse? Plus, one the greatest things is that you get to be there for one year-plus and get to explore it as a Londoner instead of a tourist. Of course the Tower of London is a must-see, but keep the super-touristy stuff to a minimum and save some serious cash.


Nab a Railcard.

These little cards run £26 for an annual pass or £63 for a three-year pass. With the 16-25 railcard, you’re entitled to 1/3 off your rail fares — definitely a cost-saver if you’re planning on exploring the UK! There’s also a card if your family or friends come to visit. The Family & Friends Railcard saves users 1/3 on rail fare for adults and 60% on rail fare for children. A bonus: Up to 4 adults and 4 children can travel on one single card!

Sign up at

I signed up with this site and I get weekly emails with sweet student discounts. Of course, some of the discounts are irrelevant, but if you can snag a few deals just by being aware… why not?

Get Theatre Tickets on the Cheap!

My new housing happens to be right in the center of Theatreland and is therefore begging me to catch a play or a musical. Although I love live performances, I don’t know that I necessarily love them £59 worth. With a limited amount of funds, £59 translates into roundtrip airfare to Ireland for me. (By the way, if it’s a play versus a trip to Ireland, Ireland always wins.) If you’re willing to not plan your night out, you can check out’s theatre section and find plays for £25. Some are even as low as £10! Spectacular.

This site has loads of goodies to save you money on entertainment, eating out, fashion, hair, health, pubs, travel and even books! Things like 20% off coupons, 2 for 1s, and more! Gotta love a deal.

Consider Day Trips from London.

As an American going overseas, I tend to think about trips I can take to mainland Europe: France, Germany, Spain, Italy, etc. I tend to forget that the UK, itself, is a land that I have yet to explore. There are so many day trips that can be done on the cheap with a discounted rail ticket, a camera & a friend! If you want to make a weekend out of it, find a nearby hostel & spend the night!

Here are some suggested day trips (courtesy of London For Free’s site):

Bath: Check out the Roman baths & the Georgian architecture // Journey: 1 1/2 hours
Stonehenge: This is a prime visit for obvious reasons, but while you’re in the area you can also check out Salisbury Cathedral, built in 1220, which is pretty amazing! // Journey: 1 1/2 hours
Oxford: Check out the amazing university & see where Harry Potter was filmed // Journey: About 50 min. with direct service
Brighton: Similar to London but with a beach front and promenade // Journey: About 1 hour with direct service

Even though converting your $$ to ££ is probably no less daunting, at least you know you can get more bang for your £!

Happy (& Inexpensive!) Travels,

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