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Sunday, December 15, 2013

London Throwback: A Walk in the Park

It's December. The last month of the year.

I've still got lots of photo backlog to clear and one of them would be my London and Paris trip during the winter of 2011--2012. I wrote about my Italy trip in July this year and was so smug about being current... and then I stopped after the second city when I got busy with major work events. Well, at least I'm pretty current for my 2013 updates.

When my hubby saw the Italy photos on Facebook, he was reminded that he hadn't seen the first Europe trip (London-Paris)  photos yet.

Kh: "Where are the Europe photos?"
Me: "That's coz I haven't edited the photos, blogged about it and uploaded on Facebook yet."

Occasionally, my good friends and I would chat and mention about our trips.

Them: "Eh? I don't remember seeing all your Europe photos."
Me: "That's coz I haven't edited the photos, blogged about it and uploaded on Facebook yet."

A while back, a few of my colleagues went to different parts of Europe separately and we were talking about our Europe experience.

Them: "I will go to your Facebook to see the photos."
Me: "Oh, I didn't upload them."
Them: "Why?"

Yup, you get the drift.

Most of you already know about my grouches on the Asus Zenbook's overly warm tone and how it affected the colours of the pictures I see and the eventual editing of my photos. I hope that whatever I see on my screen doesn't deviate much in colour tones as what others see on their screens.

Here's Day 1 of my Europe trip. Many of the pictures taken in the park have not been edited as the beautiful sunshine lent a hand in creating natural splendid tones.

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Day 1: A Walk in the Park (18 December)

When we landed at Heathrow Airport, we wondered at our good fortune. It was winter and to us at that time, London was not as cold and grey as what many often opine... or so we thought. We did not have to take our winter coats out from the luggage and walked to the metro station with only our jackets.

Our first ride on London's metro system-- the London Underground (also known as the Tube or simply the Underground).

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While we were on the Tube, we witnessed our first sunrise in London. All throughout the ride, I thought of how I would not be able to take a sunrise photo on our first day in London.

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The sky that greeted us when we emerged from the station was breathtaking!

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By the time I wrote about this, I forgot if this was taken outside Bayswater or Queensway Station as these were the 2 stations we often walked to depending on which line we wanted to take.

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Our hotel during the first leg of London-- Blakemore Hyde Park Hotel.

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I asked kh to block the unsightly Cleaning in Progress sign. The picture looked so much better without the sign! I'm not too sure about the difference in colour tone. I did not edit them except for the usual resizing, adding of borders and watermarking.

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It was 8 plus when we reached the hotel and we could not check in yet. Kh checked the map and decided that we could take a walk in the park while waiting for our room. Hence, we left our luggage at the concierge and headed out, not before I finished my snickers.

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Say hello to my Chi Cats. I call them Chi Chi. You would see them at various significant landmarks for the trip. Chi Chi have since become my travelling buddies as they are small and easy to carry about. Even if I did not bring my bag out, I could easily slip Chi Chi in the pocket of my winter coat.

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We started walking in Hyde Park and slowly made our way to Kensington Gardens. We covered quite a vast area that morning and by the time we reached Kensington Garden, my sinus was acting up really bad.

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Even the hubby was cold.

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At the beginning of the walk, I was mesmerized by the beautiful sunlit park. Although it was freezing, there were some joggers clad in shorts.

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I recently read an article-- 25 Everyday Things You Never Knew Had Names. From there, I learnt that these are called crepuscular rays which are rays of sunlight coming from a certain point in the sky. I always call them God's rays.

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I never knew the sun during winter in London could bathe the surroundings in such golden hues.

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Could you spot any anomaly in this picture? I didn't do a very good job at this but the picture still looks fine if I do not show you the original.

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This is the original picture. I remember liking this photo a lot and when I posted it on FB 2 years ago, one of my friends commented that it was a good shot except for the jogger in the background. I'm pretty thrilled by the smorgasbord of features added to the latest Photoscape software, one of which is the cloning tool. I cloned the jogger away by copying part of the grass and hiding him. It's just a very basic cloning tool with 3 brush sizes. For a free photo editing software, my amateur skills and the difficulty in cloning due to the shadows on the grass, I'm pleased with the result.

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"Deardear, look! Got cartoon bears hugging each other. I thought it should be cupid or naked people?"

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After uttering something so comical, kh started to act cool for a chao poser shot.

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And another chao poser shot.

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I like it when my camera accidentally captures lens flare. Hexagon shape to boot! I thought those were only done by editing.

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Who is Jenner? Edward Anthony Jenner was an English physician and scientist who was the pioneer of smallpox vaccine. Often called "the father of immunology", his work is known to have saved Mankind when smallpox was finally eradicated in 1980.

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"There deardear! Fountains should be like this and not cartoon bears."

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One of my favourite thing to do at huge open spaces with birds...

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... is to walk amongst them. Scaring not included. You can't really do this in Singpore coz the cunning birds here fly too quickly. Birds in other countries usually have people feeding bread to them and hence, they are not wary of humans.

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See, birds outta Singapore don't fly away easily and we could simply get close to them.

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Besides pigeons, there were seagulls everywhere too.

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They were compliant. They stood in a row and did not fly when I told them to.

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Then, along came a little dog.

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A curious little dog.

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A pretty curious little dog.

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Trying out a silhouette shot.

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Frost on the leaves.

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We reached Kensington Gardens and still had a long distance to cover.

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These 4 dogs belonged to the same owner. I wonder how the couple coped with rearing 4 big dogs.

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The Royal Albert Hall.

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The Albert Memorial was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband, Prince Albert who died of typhoid in 1861. At the corners were four groups representing Europe, Asia, Africa and America, each continent-group including several ethnographic figures and a large animal. (A camel for Africa, a bison for the Americas, an elephant for Asia and a bull for Europe.)

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By the time we reached one edge of the park, my sinus was acting up really badly. I could feel the numbing cold from the ground through my boots. You know, we should never get our feet chilly. That's a sure recipe for catching a cold.

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Kh thought I looked like Rudolph and with the hood on, Kenny from South Park.

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Along came another dog. Its ball rolled to our feet and the owner said, "Feel free to play with him." The ball was slimy with saliva. Hahaha... After that, we knew why the owner had a stick with a suction cup to pick up the ball.

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What??? What did it mean by "Kensington Palace is being transformed"?

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The gates were closed! Nooooooooooooooo!

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What a contradiction!

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The banner lied. Kh was doing the Italian WTF gesture and as for me, I would not take no for an answer.

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We were clearly not part of its future.

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We headed towards the Round Pond. The Round Pond is an ornamental lake in front of Kensington Palace.The pond was created in 1730 by George II. It is approximately 200m by 150m and up to 5m deep. Despite its name, it is not circular, but rectangular with stepped and rounded corners. There were people feeding the swans and the greedy fat pigeons so we decided to sneak into the crowd of birds without any bread of our own.

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When the people dispersed, so did the fowl.

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On the first day in London, Kh, Chi Chi and I conquered Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

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Who could resist those red phone booths in London?

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The red phone box is often seen as an iconic British symbol throughout the world. Click here for a history of the red phone box.

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We walked from morning till afternoon and by then, we were really famished that we decided to simply eat anywhere along the way back to the hotel. Bite Way looked like a great respite from the cold.

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Bite Way served what seemed like Mediterranean cuisine. We had wraps and chicken, hot coffee and chocolate. The last picture shows the water from the hotel's tap after boiling. London's tap water is supposed to be safe to drink. I guess it contains too much mineral particles. After allowing the water to settle, it became clear. We popped Redoxen Vitamin C effervescence tablet to drink hoping to keep the cold away.

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I will end this post with a video tour of our hotel room.


  1. Hi Jo! Just wow! I've read it all in a row and you just made me want to visit London. First of all, my sinus suffer the same when there is too much cold (thats why I put many layers on!!), always take care. The Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are wonderful, you did a great job with the photos! (also with the one with the jogger you edited). Watched the video too, the hotel room looks nice and tidy. Aww Chi Chi are so sweet!:) Have a good weekend dear, kisses! xo

    1. I always appreciate you taking the time to read my long posts, Lilli. And I know you really did based on the time difference from the last comment to this comment. Hahaha... Ooh... You suffer from the same sinus problem too? I hope you stay warm this winter. Our weather here is rainy and cool but sometimes warm and humid too. I would so love to be in wintry cold now, sinus or not. Hehehe... Thanx for your lovely words!

  2. What a fantastic trip, even just the start. But, you poor dears are so cold I even started feeling it. Thankfully, I had the love of cartoon bears to keep me warm :)

    1. I hope the cartoon bears and buddy and oops... what's the name of your other cat keep you warm and snug this winter! I'm wishing for some cold now. Our weather here is rainy and cool yet warm and humid on some days. It doesn't help that for the 2 gatherings this weekend, the weather was warm and kh's car ac is spoilt too.

  3. Great pictures! You look so cute, and cold lol! The food looks scrumptious :)

  4. Beautiful photos! I wish I could go back to England soon. I haven't been there for years now and can barely remember anything about my trip there.

    1. I would love to visit London over and over and over again. I love that place and I haven't explored many places during my last trip coz during winter, the sun sets at 3pm and that cut short on lots of our outdoor viewing. I hope you go back to visit England soon!

  5. aww so romantic!

    Thank you so much for your lovely comment! Of course we can follow each other! Id love to keep in touch! Let me know if you follow me and I will follow you right back :D

    And what about other social media? That way I won't miss a thing!

    Facebook / Instagram /Twitter / Chicisimo

     - Hannah's Heels

    1. Hi Hannah, I'm a little confused by your comment here and went to your blog to refer back to the contents of my comment. Your recent posts all the way till August do not look familiar to me and I don't see my comment anywhere. Did you get the right person? =)

  6. You look so FAB :) this outfit really suits you. ....Im now following

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    Have a wonderful week dear

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis – Swedish decor, food, and fashion

    1. Thanx for dropping by. I would check out your blog soon. =)

  7. wow lovely post. the place is simply beautiful

    btw do check out my new post
    stay in touch

    1. Thanx for dropping by. I would check out your blog soon. =)

  8. loveee love this!! you look like you're having such an amazing time at hyde park!!! you're making me want to go back to london now lol!!! i love love your coat you looks so warm.. i want a puffy coat but i always feel like a big marshmellow in it.. your coat actually looks very slimming and sleek!

    your hotel room is so pretty! i love the bathroom!

    1. I would love to visit London over and over and over again. I haven't explored many places during my last trip coz during winter, the sun sets at 3pm and that cut short on lots of our outdoor viewing. I love London and I also hope you go back to visit London soon!

      I agree about this Zara winter coat. It's marshmallow form yet it looks fitting and not puffy. Up till now, I feel that it is a good buy!

  9. Jo, this post was brilliant! I love the rich history of London! Those fountains are absolutely gorgeous. I remember when Kensington Palace was going through renovation. The gates are gorgeous. I always see the outside of the telephone booths but never the inside. So I appreciate your picture on that. It did look cold. You guys were bundled. Awesome video of your hotel room. That puppy looked so cute! EXCELLENT POST!

    1. I really love London too and I would love to visit again and again. Were you at London too when Kensington Palace was under renovation?

      PS: A little secret about the inside of those cute red phone booths would be that most of them are filled with porn advertisements. I went into a few of the booths and they were all the same. That sort of mar the image of the classic red phone booth.

  10. great post, i enjoyed all the photos here :)

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    1. Thanx for visiting. I would check out your giveaway soon.

  11. Glad you finally got these up! They are lovely photos. It is actually very surprising - but the sun can be beautiful in England in the summer, it is so bright and crispy.

    Corinne x

    1. People always lament that England, esp London is a grey and dreary place with rain fallining most of the time. However, there is also a group who simply love London. We had a really fine first impression of London with the warm brilliant sunshine amidst the winter cold.

  12. Sooo many beautiful pics in this psot!
    New outfit post on my blog, check it out if you have time, I'll be happy to read what you think =)

    1. Thanx for visiting. I would check out your blog soon.

  13. Lovely! I've always wanted to go to London! Truly, a walk to remember. :) T.

    1. You should go when you have the opportunity coz London is really beautiful and rich with culture.

  14. Such great photos! That is definitely a breathtaking sunset. The pictures that you took in the park with the sun peaking out from the trees are gorgeous too.


    1. It was actually sunrise and not sunset but nonetheless it was beautiful. =) I always hear that London is a grey and dreary place with rain fallining most of the time so we were impressed with the beautiful morning walk in the park.

  15. Hi darling, you have so beautifully captured the charm and essence of London in your wonderful photos, you have shown me so many parts of the city I had never seen before, sounds like the most amazing trip!

    1. It truly is, Sam. We haven't visited many places in London too and would love to go back there again. You should too if you have the opportunity coz London is really beautiful and rich with culture.

  16. Wow Jo these photos of London look marvelous. Makes me miss it even more. I think every tourist has taken a pic in the red phone box. Mine is just like yours!! Glad you finally uploaded the photos. I don't get it how people can jog bare-legged with shorts in winter. We have them over here too. The necklace is made of sterling silver btw :)

    xx Mira

    1. We haven't visited many places in London too and would love to go back there again. You should too if you have the opportunity coz London is really beautiful and rich with culture. Hahaha... I would love to see your red phone booth shot! Thanx for your reply about the necklace.

  17. Hi Chi Chi. They are so cute. I love London. Been there many times and will never get sick of it. You both look so cold:)

    1. You will see more of Chi Chi in my travel photos! I don't think I would ever get sick of London too!

  18. Chi-Chi is very cute--and traveling to much more interesting places than I am. I need a plan to catch up. :)
    I wouldn't have recognized you in the Snickers picture...maybe my eyes are acting up. That's the 2nd time recently I didn't know you at first.

    The pictures all look good to me. I am viewing them through a privacy screen, but all appears well.

    1. Do you go for road trips around the States? I've always envied my friends who live in the States or in Europe for a while as they would travel to the different countires/states/cities via car and road trips always seem fun! I can't remember when was the first time you didn't recognise me in a picture. Was it from Instagram? Hahaha... I'm glad you recognised the Ajitsen Ramen girl. lol

  19. i wanna go to kensington palace aaaah! :) everything in London looks so nice and cold haha, except the birds they seem to be welcoming of people. the birds here in our area have people phobia you cannot go near them at all ^^ btw love your cozy coat jo :)

    1. The birds in ASIA have the same tendency I think. They fly away too quickly. I do love my coat too. It keeps me warm and cozy while still looking good.Hehehe.

  20. Wowww Great post!!

    Unas fotos preciosas y tu muy guapa


  21. Too bad the gardens weren't open, although the gates themselves were beautiful. I'm the same way---I have to edit my photos before I release them to my friends :) You did a great job taking these---I don't see anything off about the colors at all.


    1. High 5 for the similarity about editing our photos before release and thank you for very much for your lovely words. Thanx for dropping by. I would check out your blog soon!

  22. Aww i hope you liked London!! Its such a beautiful city at any season! (you should go back on summer xD)


    Thank you so much for your lovely comment!

    Facebook / Instagram /Twitter / Chicisimo

     - Hannah's Heels

    1. I wonder how summer in London is like! I would love to go back there too.

  23. What a lovely lovely LOVELY post Jo! :) I love when you document just the simple moments in life :)
    I love going for walks in Hyde Park , it's probably one of my favourite places in London now. I used to hate parks but now I just love throwing on a pair of comfy boots and a coat and just going fora walk :)

    Happy holidays!


    1. A Londoner reading about a post on London! Yay! Do you stay near Hyde Park? Sometimes taking a walk in the park can be so therapeutic.

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  25. Such a lovely city to experience through this pictures.

  26. Replies
    1. Thank you. By the time I'm replying to this, it would be Happy New Year to you!

  27. I always love looking at other people's travel pictures. I can feel like I'm getting away for a few minutes without having to actually fly halfway across the world hehe. I love all of you and KH's pictures - you guys look like you are having a lot of fun on your trip :D

    London looks like a beautiful city. I would love to visit it one day. I really like the sun pictures you took too - the lens flare effect you got on a few of them look really nice. I still haven't been able to achieve that in any of the pictures I've taken!

    1. I'm a huge sucker for travel pictures too. I love living vicariously through other people's experience especially when there is description accompanying those photos. Thank you for your lovely words. I'm quite surprised by the accidental lens flare too. Hehehe...


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