London Travel Journal: 2 September

I know. I'm super late in posting this. I'm still adjusting to my new work and internship schedule, and I took a personal day. I hope you all didn't miss me too much. Wishful thinking much? If you haven't read the first part of this London Travel Journal, here it is!

To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to my graduation ceremony. Graduation ceremonies have always been hollow ritualistic processions for me. I didn't really attend my high school because I was a full-time Running Start student, I finished my B.A. a year and a half early, and I never hung out with my UCL coursemates because #artslife. Actually, I hung out with some of them once.

But more importantly , graduation caps are THE WORST. I despise graduation caps. They do not flatter my face in any way, and they squish my hair! Okay, maybe not the worst but pretty darn close.

grad day-39.jpg

Really, the ceremony was all for my mum. Plus, I got a free trip out of it so thank you parents!

Despite the stressful, rushed morning, I actually enjoyed my UCL graduation/reception! Well, for the short time that I was present. Quite a few of the people I got along with on my course were there, and it was nice to catch up. The actual ceremony was short and sweet, followed by a lovely reception. A generous open bar, canapés, and a live band playing Frank Sinatra covers? UCL don't mess around. 


Can someone explain to me these weird bat wings and their purpose???

I wish I had made a later reservation at the Sky Garden because I didn't have any time to enjoy the reception! I stayed for about 5 minutes before having to rush off to take these photos!

Next, lunch at Darwin Brasserie at the Sky Garden . . .

This was my first time at the Sky Garden, and now, it's a London must-do! Unfortunately, the weather was quite windy and cloudy that day, but the stunning views and lush indoor greenery made up for it! The best, FREE views of London, in my opinion! 

We started with some bread, butter, and olives -- all of which tasted fantastic. My sister and I both ordered champagne-based cocktails, but I could barely drink mine. The flavours were not in harmony, and I should've asked the waiter for another drink, but ah! Awkward! 

From the top left: Dorset Crab Salad, Red Onion Tarte Tatin, Duck Confit Burger (no cheese), and the Peterhead Cod. Not pictured: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

From the top left: Dorset Crab Salad, Red Onion Tarte Tatin, Duck Confit Burger (no cheese), and the Peterhead Cod. Not pictured: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

 I thought the crab starter was a bit meh, but it wasn't bad. The tarte, although untidy in appearance, tasted wonderful. I ordered the duck burger, and thankfully, my waiter told me that it normally comes with cheddar cheese. What??? That sounded like a terrible idea I got mine sans cheese. Definitely the right call, as the burger was densely packed with beautiful chunks from a duck confit leg, and the oozy duck egg yolk gave all the necessary extra moisture and richness. My saliva glands activate whenever I think about it. Mum ordered the cod, and she loved it. Ulri's gnocchi, however, was a major disappointment. They were more like soggy, tasteless dumplings. Not a delight.

I was positively stuffed after that burger, but I'm so glad we ordered dessert! The mains were fantastic but the desserts! Ooooooh dear, Lord. Both the fruit and chocolate options were  diviiiine. Definition of a pleasant surprise. Even after a week of indulging ourselves in Paris, we're still talking about that chocolate mousse cake with a cookie base and peanut crumble.

Dress:  Banana Republic  | Shoes: Sam Edelman  (similar)

Dress: Banana Republic | Shoes: Sam Edelman (similar)

My outfit was simple and comfortable as I didn't know how much walking and standing would be involved with the ceremony. Life was also so crazy before leaving for London that I didn't have time to buy any accessories! I just wore my grandam's Seiko watch and added a touch of sass with low(ish)-heeled Sam Edelman cheetah-print court shoes/pumps/whatever you want to call them. I was also extremely sleep deprived by this point and didn't want to bother with contacts. My glasses are one of my favourite accessories, anyways. I thought they went rather well with my rather "serious" look.

Dress pockets are a girl's best friend.

Yup, this is my sister. And yes, I'm aware that she could be a model. Fellas, she's single!

I wish I'd worn taller heels to balance out the boxiness of the dress and had a necklace, but given my budget and time restraints, I thought I did pretty well! I'm thinking about shortening the dress by half an inch, as well . . . Ulr, of course, looks stunning.

Oh, brown and dreary Thames. Your murky charm is unrelenting.

But seriously, you need to visit the Sky Garden. It's free, and gives you unobstructed 360 degree views of central London!

After spending hours at the Sky Garden, we went back to the flat, and started to pack our things for Paris. I was, again, rushed as I had to meet friends in Soho for my last night in London! What started off with drinks at The Yard, then we went to G-A-Y and finally, Heaven, where we danced until about 4am!  It was a very gay evening, in every sense of the word. I think I finally went to bed around 5:30am, before our flight to Paris!