London Travel Diary // Activities, shopping + food

I’ve been posting bits and pieces of our London trip on Instagram, and wanted to share a little more info behind the photos! Nick and I have visited a few times before, so with some touristy activities out of the way, we planned to just wander and take in the beauty of the city during this time of year!

somerset house london ice skating romantic couple activity

What We Did

Exploring on Foot

I packed an old pair of faux suede OTK boots (reviewed here) and these rubber rain booties in preparation for lots of walking in damp conditions. This was basically my same uniform while visiting last year! For both of these boots, you can size up and put in thicker insoles from the drugstore, since they don’t come with much cushioning.

london eye sunset winter travel outfit shoes for Europe

CK coat XSP (also in regular), Express jeans (similar), Sam Edelman boots sz 5 (also in sz 4)

We rode the London Eye during a previous visit – as someone wary of heights, once was enough for me! We did enjoy views of it while strolling along the Westminster Bridge or Royal Air Force Memorial (where the above IG was taken), especially at sunset! Last year we also enjoyed strolling through Belgravia with its grand homes and cute storefronts like this cheese boutique and this floral shop.

Ice Skating

The one “must-do” on my list was ice skating at either the iconic Natural History Museum or Somerset House. We visited the Museum last Christmas and it was magical, but Somerset House was closer to us this time and lovely nonetheless (book your tickets online in advance)! Our session was a little crowded but so much fun, even for two un-coordinated people. Lots of skilled little kids zooming by us, and fellow adults circling the rink railing with white knuckles : )

somerset house london ice skating outfit skirt
somerset house london ice skating rink romantic christmas activities
J.Crew Factory earmuffs (similar), New Look sweater sz S (similar), Zara skirt sz S


There’s two UK-based brands that Nick and I try to check out when we visit – Ted Baker and Topshop! Both are priced a little better there compared to in the US, plus you can potentially get a VAT refund.

topshop plaid check long duster coat jacket

Trying on Topshop checked jacket sz 0 regular (now available in petites!)

A long plaid jacket has been high on my list – it’s very on-trend right now, yet the style itself is classic. This jacket (the weight is like a jacket and not a heavy coat) was one of my favorites at Topshop but a little roomy on me in 0 regular and the sleeves would need shortening. However, it just became available online in petite sizing (with free shipping & returns)! A 0 petite should suit someone my size without alterations.

ted baker womens long wool wrap coat

While shopping at Ted Baker, we ran into none other than founder “Ted” (Ray Kelvin) himself who was quite the quirky one! The story of how he built the brand from the ground up is nothing short of impressive. I seem to have some random luck while traveling encountering founders of brands that I shop at!

I love Ted Baker’s sleek wrap coats, and think the longer length can actually be very flattering on petites. Note their signature wool-cashmere style (pictured above) available year after year is on the thinner side, however I own a seasonal version of that coat in a thicker, nubbly textured fabric (pictured below). This thicker version comes in navy wool as well as a burgundy plaid!

broadgate london light tunnel christmas

Ted Baker coat sz 0 (sleeves shortened), Sam Edelman rain boots sz 5 (more sizes)

I kept one eye open throughout this trip for a little handbag souvenir. I’ve been coveting a small or medium Chanel Boy bag for years, but the right leather, hardware, and color combo has always escaped me! With Chanel’s global price adjustments last year, the prices in EUR are no longer as favorable compared to buying in the US (just a slight difference, factoring in the VAT refund). Based on exchange rates when we visited, prices may have been a little better in UK pounds than EUR. Out of the various Chanel boutiques we browsed around London and Paris, Harrods actually seemed to have the best selection across their two floors of Chanel. For those interested, I’ll be doing a separate review post of the styles I tried on!

chanel small boy bags london harrods

harrods-red-hat-IG-London IG
cartier bond street london christmas holiday decorations

Where We Stayed

rosewood london hotel marble staircase
We had a great experience renting an apartment last visit, but this trip was last-minute so there weren’t many rentals left. We booked the Rosewood London hotel in Holborn – the building architecture is beautiful and the location is convenient, although I felt our room was a little pricey for what it was.

cozy monkey terrace lodge rosewood london hotel
rosewood london hotel courtyard

Nick loved the hotel bar, “Scarfes,” and there was another bar decked out in a cozy lodge vibe that we didn’t get to try! We got several recommendations for afternoon tea at Rosewood, which is supposedly very sculptural and modern, but we ended up doing a more traditional one this time.

Where We Ate

fortnum and mason london best afternoon high tea

Outfit from this blog post

Afternoon Tea

On the topic of tea, those interested should check out the extensive list of suggestions we received, and book your reservations in advance! We got a last-minute slot at Fortnum & Mason around 7pm. Their blue china sets are gorgeous, their tea list lengthy, and we loved the choice of traditional sweet versus savory only (I am all about the savories). The savory scones were scrumptious and you can typically get refills on whatever you’d like (which seems to be the norm for tea in London; not the case in the US)! However, they did not have enough for seconds on certain items since we were the last seating of the day, so I’d recommend an earlier slot at any tea place for that reason. We also loved browsing the F&M department store afterwards and picked up several souvenirs and little food items!

  kanada ya japanese ramen london food 
 masala zone thali platters indian food london

Flavorful Curries

A lot of you recommended Dishoom, which we did enjoy before, but the wait was hours long so we went to Masala Zone for a quick Thali fix. We love Thali-style meals where you get several little Indian dishes + bread or rice served on one platter. We also ate at Hoppers, a bustling Sri Lankan restaurant. We tried the bone marrow curry and lamb roti dish, which was roti bread cut up and stir-fried like noodles. Both were very flavorful but on the heavier side.


It was cold and damp our entire visit, which had me longing for hot noodle soup! We came across an Ippudo which didn’t look busy, however the little Kanada-Ya ramen shop across the street had a line down the block! Cold be damned, we got in line and the ramen turned out to be delicious … flavorful with good noodle texture, and didn’t leave us bloated with sodium like ramen usually does.

Koya Bar

We also loved warming up to the simple goodness of udon at Koya Bar. They serve hot Japanese breakfast, too!

Peggy Porschen

We had to visit the decked-out Peggy Porschen cake shop after seeing it all over Instagram, but made the mistake of going mid-day. It was swarming with ladies trying to get a good ‘gram of their adorable snowflake lattes and cakes, so I’d suggest going earlier to avoid a crowd!

dalloway terrace bloomsbury hotel winter wonderland brunch
the bloomsbury hotel lobby london extra petite blog

Dalloway Terrace

In the winter, this terrace restaurant (opens early for breakfast and serves afternoon tea) gets decorated into a cozy little wonderland with heat lamps. It’s in The Bloomsbury hotel, which also has a sharply-decorated bar (The Coral Room) and a darling lobby sitting area!

dalloway terrace breakfast tea london hotel
After a few days in London, we hopped on the train to Paris for a couple of nights. Can’t wait to share some more photos and shopping reviews from the trip!


55 thoughts on “London Travel Diary // Activities, shopping + food

  • Reply Alxdra January 9, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Love love love your travel posts with beautiful pictures Jean! I found your previous Hawaii/Maui post so helpful when I traveled last month. I really enjoy the beautiful photos from this travel. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite January 12, 2018 at 12:11 am

      Aw thanks for your feedback!! Hope you enjoyed Hawaii ~ I’m itching to go back!

  • Reply Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog January 9, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Your post makes me miss London so much! Dalloway Terrance looks amazing… am so going there next time I visit the city! ❤️🍃

  • Reply La Bijoux Bella | by mia January 9, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Beautiful guide! 👍🏼💗👍🏼

  • Reply shirley January 9, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Jean, I like the top with golden dots and black bow ties. Where did you get that. Thanks and I love your blog.

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite January 12, 2018 at 12:11 am

      Hi Shirley, I found it at Zara! : )

      • Reply shirley January 15, 2018 at 11:42 am

        Thank you!

  • Reply Mireia January 9, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Absolutely love it!

  • Reply Jennifer January 9, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    How lovely! I have to visit London someday. It’s on my travel list. All of the activities looks so fun! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Reply Helen January 9, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    I loved browsing through all these photos from your trip to London! It sounds like it was a blast. And how cool that you got to meet Ted Baker himself! That must make wearing pieces from the brand so much more special.


  • Reply Deasy @ Rose Gold Rhyme January 9, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Oh, what a delightful trip it seems you had! And all of the outfits are SO pretty!

  • Reply Shloka January 9, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Your trip looks fabulous! You hit all the right spots in London and it looks like you had a beautiful time!


  • Reply Carla Krae January 9, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Throw blankets on chairs, wow.

    Side question – do you run into noodle restaurants with a gluten-free option? I love soup and chow mein used to be my jam, but now I’m stuck with rice noodles.

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite January 12, 2018 at 12:12 am

      I rarely see that option offered : / I wish more noodle joints would include that!

  • Reply Heather January 9, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Jean, what are the outfit details for the red skirt you are wearing under the “Where We Stayed” section? It looks beautiful!

  • Reply Petite Teacher January 9, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Hi Jean. Nothing beats an afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason. Thanks for sharing this London diary with us. Love, Lieske

  • Reply Elizabeth January 9, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    I loved this photo diary of London and all of your recommendations Jean 🙂 I’ve always wanted to visit London so much, especially for the afternoon tea! Glad to hear that you both had fun! And your photos are soooo beautiful! <3

    XO, Elizabeth

  • Reply Briana January 9, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    I’m studying abroad in London this summer and I cannot wait to experience this!


  • Reply Amanda January 10, 2018 at 12:21 am

    We were just in London, too! But so funny to see how different it looks with a four-year-old-year-old in the mix, haha! Also, you have more style in your pinky finger than I do in my whole body!

  • Reply Narhee January 10, 2018 at 12:33 am

    Wow looks like an amazing trip! love all the outfits as well

    Narhee | Made in Mauve

  • Reply Usha January 10, 2018 at 1:49 am

    Nice. Which camera you used to click them . They are good picture with colour and light.

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite January 12, 2018 at 12:13 am

      Most of these were taken on my iphone!

  • Reply K January 10, 2018 at 3:28 am

    Can we PLEASE TALK about that RED SKIRT though?

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite January 12, 2018 at 12:13 am

      Haha it was a find at Express out of all places!

      • Reply Michelle January 12, 2018 at 3:53 pm

        That photo in the hotel window in the red skirt! Did you have to climb over the railing to get into the picture window???? 😀

  • Reply miki January 10, 2018 at 6:01 am

    1. you two look gorgeous.
    2. now I want to go for ice skating!! ahaha

    Miki x

  • Reply Laila January 10, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Omg, you guys are so cute! Like I can’t get over it!!

    Laila from Townhouse Palette

  • Reply Jae January 10, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    London is definitely on my list of places to visit. I always trust your travel guides so I’ll definitely refer back to this in the future!

  • Reply Jessica January 10, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    How amazing are these pictures! It looks like it was a wonderful time!

  • Reply anabela barbosa January 10, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Absolutely love your reviews especially about your travel destinations! hanging on to the edge of my seat waiting for the Paris & Chanel bag review…

  • Reply Mizeats January 10, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Love this post, Jean! Your outfits, places visited, in addition to the pics make for such a fun read 😃

  • Reply Sincerely Ophelia January 11, 2018 at 1:21 am

    Wow! Bookmarking this for future London adventures! Looks like so much fun! I have the same Ted Baker jacket! Love it so!

    XOXO //

  • Reply Annie January 11, 2018 at 3:13 am

    hi jean! i just tried on the SM rainboots and they look so good on. I scouted ebay for hoping that I might find it cheaper there and noticed that J.Crew actually has something very similar. It’s the J.Crew Matte Black Chelsea Rain Boots and I’m curious about the fit now. Was wondering if you’ve ever tried it on.

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite January 12, 2018 at 12:26 am

      Hi Annie – I haven’t tried the J.Crew ones, but the Sam Edelman ones are priced lower!

  • Reply Michael @ Mile in My Glasses January 11, 2018 at 10:00 am

    It sounds like you had an amazing time in London! The photos are gorgeous, too!

    I hope you have a great Thursday,

  • Reply Stephanie January 11, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Kanada-Ya is my favorite! Their broth is so rich and yummy :3

  • Reply Alexa M Johnson January 11, 2018 at 11:44 am

    This trip looked amazing!

  • Reply Sandy January 11, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Hi Jean, Thank you so much for the great travel recommendations and beautiful photos. How do you manage to take those lovely photos with both you and Nick in the photos?! Do you have a travel companion who happen to be a great photographer? It’s difficult to do European city trips and carry tripod so I always wonder how you manage to get beautiful couple photos.

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite January 12, 2018 at 12:27 am

      Hi Sandy! We had a friend take the ones at the ice skating rink but we always ask strangers for photos when traveling! I know not everyone likes to ask strangers but we’ve come to rely on it in order to get some pictures together. We wrote a blog post about it here:

      • Reply Anonymous January 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm

        Thank you so much Jean and Nick. The blog post is very helpful! Wishing you a blessed 2018 filled with peace and joy.

  • Reply YZ Chan January 11, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Loved reading about and seeing your photos of your London trip! Kanada-Ya is my favourite place for ramen in London. Can’t wait for your Paris post!

  • Reply sara January 11, 2018 at 3:27 pm


    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite January 12, 2018 at 12:20 am

      It’s from Express!

  • Reply Jandrew January 11, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Jean I just loved this post . London is my favorite city . The city just speaks to me ! You give a fabulous tour , having never been to London in the winter you showed some great spots to visit !
    Dress The Part

  • Reply Sophie January 12, 2018 at 1:23 am

    Love the photographs in this post! Your outfits are just gorgeous and the writing style was really engaging to read!

    -Sophie xx
    Cherries & Perfume 

  • Reply Martin Hopley January 12, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Hi Jean,

    I found your website whist randomly browsing Facebook for Fortnum & Mason as I’ve just bought their Christmas Eve hamper (currently on sale.) I’ve had tea and cakes there on a few of occasions at the cafe on the ground floor where they sell their tea and coffee. I didn’t know they did afternoon tea like The Ritz down the road (50 pounds and all you can eat/drink but they don’t tell you that!) The tea and cakes me and my Japanese friends had were very nice but a bit expensive, I suspect the afternoon tea option would be more cost effective especially at the end of the day after a hard day’s shopping. Even though I’m on a low income because I’m disabled, I’m slowly falling in love with Fortnum and Mason because their tea and biscuits are delicious and not all are expensive but also because the staff, especially the CEO who bothered to answer my questions, treat me nicely. I live in Reading so next time I got to London (and have the spare money) I’ll give it a try.

    If you travel a lot then I highly recommend Verona and Juliet’s House and my sisters worked at The Pangkor Laut Resort in Malaysia and The Muse Resort in St Tropez.

    I also recommend visiting The Savoy Hotel for a Dry Martini at The American Bar. Erik makes the best Dry Martinis!



  • Reply Megan January 13, 2018 at 11:54 am

    These are great travel highlights! Love all your outfits, how large was your suitcase?!

  • Reply Joanna January 15, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Hi! I just recently found your page – and I’m absolutely obsessed! Was curious to know with all the traveling you do, what your favorite walking shoe that gives you enough comfort and support all day, and of course doesn’t make you sacrifice fashion?

    Thanks! xx

  • Reply Myrra Consulta January 20, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Hi Jean! Thank you so much for posting about your London trip. I was there for Christmas last year and I must say that London is just utterly beautiful. Your photos and recommendations made me miss it more! I hope to try out the afternoon tea like you’ve had when I come back there!

    xx, Myrra |

  • Reply Wendy January 27, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Going to London the first week of April and trying to get outfit ideas. Will the weather will still be as cold and damped? I want order “winter” clothes now before they become unavailable in March. Any suggestions? Thanks! Love your posts!!!

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite February 16, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Hi Wendy – I’ve gone in April and it’s definitely not as cold as in December, but you’d still want to bring layers like scarves, a trench coat, and sweaters to layer with!

  • Reply Molly February 15, 2018 at 12:08 am

    Hi Jean! Any possibility you could let the cat out of the bag on where you got that BEAUTIFUL red skirt from!? The color, the cut! GORGEOUS! Pretty please? Thanks in advance! 😉

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite February 16, 2018 at 11:09 am

      Hi Molly! I got it from Express but last year … it’s the wrap maxi skirt and they bring it back in different colors and prints.

  • Reply DM February 24, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    Do you know any stores where I can find EXTRA petite lingerie for my girlfriend? She is smaller than you. Thank you!

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