Wednesday, 2 September 2015

London According To Cara - Favourite Galleries, Museums and Sights

If you're a long term follower of my blog then you may remember that back in 2013 I did my first "London According to Cara" post, which is a series where I tell my personal favourite things to do, see and eat in London. I'm finally getting around to doing the next post and today I'll be sharing all of the museums, galleries and sights that I love to visit when I'm in the city. 

Museums and Galleries 

Besides being into fashion I love to visit art and photography exhibitions and it's no secret that London is one of the best places in the entire world for a slice of artistic culture. My all time favourite gallery is probably the most well known one in the city but that doesn't make it any less wonderful and awe-inspiring, and that is The National Gallery. Located in the iconic Trafalgar Square right next to Charing Cross station and a mere stone's throw away from Buckingham Palace, the building's exterior alone is as classic, wonderful and awe-inspiring as the artwork inside. I've been to this beautiful gallery countless times over the years and there is always something new to see. There is every art style imaginable dating as far back as the 1200s and some of the world's most famous and celebrated artists have work housed here including Monet and Van Gogh (his beloved Sunflowers painting is housed here). Besides this, there are always fantastic exhibitions on both here and at the National Gallery's sister establishment The National Portrait Gallery next door. 

One of my other favourite galleries is the Saatchi Gallery which finds it's home on King's Road in Chelsea. With it's modern art theme it's much more of an acquired taste than The National Gallery, with controversial and taboo breaking artwork commonly seen. The gallery often changes up it's pieces too which means that every visit is different and refreshing. However my personal favourite part of the Saatchi is the 20:50 installion by Richard Wilson - I don't want to give anything away but it's well worth a visit if you're ever in Sloane Square. The best part is, it's free! 

Also worth a look if you're ever in the Kensington Gardens area is the Serpentine Gallery. Similar to the Saatchi, the content is ever changing and always eye opening and unique - I recently saw the Duane Hanson exhibition and it blew my mind (it's on until the 13th so go have a look if you can - you'll be wowed). Plus this year for a limited time there's also the Serpentine Pavilion, a gorgeous and eye catching installation where you can grab a drink and just generally be enthralled by how pretty the place is. You can't miss it. Another huge plus is the location, situated amid beautiful park land and near to both Hyde Park and South Kensington's famous Exhibition Road. Other honorable mentions of the London art gallery scene include the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain. 

Onto museums, London is definitely a great place to visit if you're interested in this type of attraction. There is literally a museum for everything from fashion to childhood to science and Sherlock Holmes (which is actually pretty cool - check it out). My personal favourite isn't an obscure one but is indeed the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington. South Kensington has to be one of my top three places in the entire city because there's a kind of charm and magic to it which I can't explain. I used to go there a lot as a child so it has a certain nostalgia for me, especially Exhibition Road where you can find the "big three" of London museums. The V&A will forever be my favourite though as it mixes all my passions - art, music, theatre, photography and of course fashion. I could spend hours strolling around the fashion exhibit which showcases pieces from different designers through the ages to show the progress of style and trend. There are outfits on display by everyone to Chanel and McQueen and it's just a visual treat for any fashion fan. Similar to the National Gallery, the building itself is absolutely gorgeous - if you enter from the tunnels in the tube station you will find yourself first of all in the Sculpture Room which is, in my opinion, the most stunning part of the whole museum. Other highlights for me include the Theatre & Performance room (featuring actual costumes from The Lion King on the West End!!) and the jewelry room which is stunningly designed.

 The other museums on Exhibition Road certainly hold their own too - I'm not a huge biology buff (that's more my sister's game) but the Science Museum is a worthwhile and engaging visit even if you can't tell your Carbon from your Chlorine. There is everything in here from actual planes and trains to fun interactive activities, and it's genuinely awesome for kids and adults a like. Last but by no means least on this road is the Natural History Museum which I've been spending a lot of time in recently - never ever a bad thing, folks. There is so much to see here that it's hard to choose a best bit; from the awe inspiring entrance hall, to activities in the Biology room and that escalator that only takes you INTO THE SUN. It's impossible, however, to miss the dinosaur room. There are actual skeletons. There are machines that let you pretend to walk like a dinosaur. There are raptors, and most famously there's a giant animatronic T-Rex that has to be seen to be believed. Go, marvel at all the wonders and most importantly - pretend to be Chris Pratt in Jurassic World. I wish I could write about all my other favourite museums because London has so many gems but also worth visiting are the British Museum, the RAF Museum in Hendon (just outside Central so you may need to buy an overground ticket for this one) and the London Film Museum near Covent Garden.

Sights and Attractions

This category is possibly the hardest of them all. London is chocka full of iconic landmarks - the London Eye, Big Ben and even Piccadilly Circus to name but a few. My number one personal favourite place in the city, however, is Somerset House. If you cross Waterloo Bridge from the South Bank end, you'll see a huge neoclassical white building looming over the strand - that's her alright. Though it is well known by fashion bloggers and editors all over the world as the former home of London Fashion Week and Weekend, there is so much more to Somerset House than that. It is home to several small galleries and spaces where I've seen exhibitions by Valentino, Tim Walker and Miles Aldridge over the last few years alone to name but a few. In summer there is a giant fountain in the courtyard (and sometimes a cinema screen) which gives way to an ice skating rink in the winter, both equally stunning and Instagram-able. Add to this not one, not two but seven amazing eat and drink places inside and unbeatable views over the Thames and you have a location that is perfect for anyone, Londoner or tourist.

 There is also a million and one "family friendly attractions" in the city, from the London Dungeon (you couldn't pay me to go there) to the newly opened Shrek Adventure. My favourites both involve animals. Located in County Hall on South Bank, the Sealife Aquarium will take you unda da sea in a truly immersive experience while the ZSL London Zoo is home to every wild creature you could hope to see, be this a giant giraffe or a sleepy bat. Fun fact: The reptile house was used in Harry Potter. Though I haven't been in a while this is undoubtably one of my favourite zoos in the UK and is super well located too, well within walking distance of Camden Town and another of my favourite sights Primrose Hill. I was recently introduced to here by my best friend Emily who loves this place more than anywhere else and I can see why. It's potentially the perfect picnic spot boasting unbeatable views of the London skyline and for free! There's also a bounty of cute dogs being walked there, and the chance for some major celebrity spotting. Other personal favourites of mine include St Paul's Cathedral and The Tower of London.

So, what do you all make of my list? What would you rank as your top things to see in the Ol' Smoke? 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

What the **** has British Mermaid been doing?! (Or, an Instagram recap.)

Back in the early days of my blog, I used to do a miniseries every now and again (aka, I did it twice) where I'd sum up what I'd been getting up to that month via my posts on Instagram. Looking back on this I realised that it's still a pretty cute idea for a series of posts, and I always enjoying reading similar on other blogs. This month was absolutely amazing for me - I fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Rome, ate some delicious food and treated myself to some gorgeous new pieces. Because, y'know, new season and all that.

As mentioned above, at the start of the month me and my family went on holiday to the beloved "eternal city" that is Rome, Italy. Let me tell you, it earns it's place at the top of the list of most beautiful places in the world - true to it's nickname it is completely unchanged by time, apart from the usual tourist shops and chains that come with any big city. But Rome has a old-worldly ancient feeling I've never experienced in London or even Paris, making it distinctly special. On our first two days we hit all the main spots to see in the "ancient" district of the city, from the breathtakingly unchanged Colosseum and Roman Forum to the Capitoline museums. There I saw Bernini's famous Medusa which, as a not even remotely low key art nerd, made me lose my chill. We also ventured to the Trevi fountain in the evening which was still incredible and awe inspiring despite sadly being under maintenance. All was not lost, however, as I had my first gelato of the holiday - oreo flavoured, obviously.

One of the must see areas in Rome has to be the Vatican City, and we spent two days there seeing both the museums and St Peter's Basilica. Despite a lengthy walk around the museums on a 40 degree celcius day surrounded by hundreds of other tourists, seeing the Sistine Chapel was truly worth it. I'm not a religious person but have always longed to see it in person for as long as I can remember and it blew my mind. Please, if you're ever in Rome, go see it because it's unlike anything I've ever seen. St Peter's Basilica was an unexpected treat, definitely coming near the top of my list of most beautiful churches I've visited; the art on the ceilings and the imposing marble statues are especially impressive. While in Rome I had to seek out a Disney store (possibly twice...) and the Via Del Corso branch was adorable, featuring mosaics and busts of all the classic gang. I loved it, Disney always nail their theming. When we finally had to bid farewell to the city, we were sent off with this gorgeous pink sunset - a fitting end to a great holiday. Shockingly I didn't spend a great deal of money while abroad so I decided to go on a "treat-yoself" shopping day in London where I picked up these pieces from American Apparel. This is now my fourth tennis skirt and I have no regrets. NONE.

Also new to my wardrobe is this insane Missguided bodysuit which I'll admit I was slightly scared of at first as it's a lot more revealing than my usual outfits. However I think it's super fierce and I love the whole lace up trend at the moment, so I can't wait to wear it on a night out when I'm back at university! A couple of days ago I met up with one of my best friends/soulmate Emily and we spent a rainy Monday cackling our way around Central. We stopped off at The Diner off Carnaby Street for dinner, where we both got the BBQ Chicken Burger and cheese fries (Regina George eat your heart out). Diet who? I also snapped the adorable lighting installation on the street outside - Soho always kill it. I also made a trip down to Bournemouth recently which ended in a spontanteous few hours driving around the New Forest with my dad accompanied by baby donkeys walking in the road and Radio 1. We stopped off at one point where I made friends with a couple of horses who seemed very interested in sniffing us humans. 

If you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find me at @carackobama. Let me know if you enjoyed this post and I'll do another next month! 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Things I'm Feelin' - A/W '15

Hello friends! So here in (sometimes) lovely England the weather has taken a pretty gloomy turn lately which heartbreakingly seems to mean summer is drawing close to its grand finale for yet another year. While this may mean we have to say goodbye to sunny days on South Bank and our favourite sandals (unless you're into pairing your summer faves with autumn friendly socks but that's another post altogether - spoiler alert: LOVE. IT.) let us not despair - we can now get reacquainted with red cups from Starbucks, faux fur and Christmas decorations which will - let's be real - start appearing in a number of weeks. I thought that today, on an extremely wet and miserable day in southern Hertfordshire, I would welcome in the new season by talking about what I'm loving for Autumn and Winter this year.

Star print everything

All images found on Pinterest/

Over the past couple of seasons I've picked up on a recurring theme of celestial motifs on pieces across the board, from coats to boots. I especially love the star print that high end fashion houses like Tommy Hilfiger and Saint Laurent have embraced, a simple but extremely eye catching take on the trend. Like these Hilfiger metallic boots? PLEASE. Luckily for us who want to add a bit of star print to our wardrobe without breaking the bank, online heavyweights Missguided and ASOS have made our dreams come true - my favourites are this gorgeous 70s-inspired playsuit and these insane ankle boots (there's a silver and blue glitter version coming out soon too and I can't decide which to get). 

Colourful faux fur

All images found on Pinterest

I've been a huge fan of statement faux fur for a few years now, but my love has intensified for 2015 after falling in lust with a navy jacket in Forever 21 recently. There's something so effortlessly chic about throwing on a jewel toned faux fur number over a casual base outfit, but they can also look amazing when mixed with other bold colours. I'm dying to get my hands on one so I can style it with a simple dress and some killer statement boots. Also can we talk about the incredible multicoloured coat pictured above? SO SICK, I can't even begin to deal. RIP me.

Statement chokers

All images found on Pinterest

For the past couple of months or so chokers have become my staple accessory of choice. This love-in looks set to carry on to autumn and winter time and my collection is gradually growing in size. I've mainly been obsessed with the tattoo style that every tumblr girl and their mother has been rocking - I love how they look when layered with a delicate pendant as seen in the right hand image above - but for the new season, I've fallen in love with leather chokers. These are not for the faint heart, commonly associated with alternative subcultures and Soho sex stores however against the odds they are now making waves in the style blogging community. They look as rad with a simple ringer tee and tennis skirt combination or a cute 90s style slip dress as they do with a statement jacket and a sick pair of shoes for something fashion week worthy.

So these are my favourites for the upcoming season - expect to see them making an appearance in some of my upcoming posts over the next few months. What are you adding to your wardrobes for Autumn/Winter, and do you agree with my picks? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Lust List | April 2015

// Silver backpack - Topshop // Illamasqua lipstick in "ESP" - Illamasqua website // Jessi white cleated sole platform shoes - Public Desire // "Over It" crop tee - The Ragged Priest // As If sleeveless set in "Pink Tartan" - Glitters For Dinner// Tennis skirt in "Black" - American Apparel //

So yours truly has come down with a bout of the cold over the past couple of days, a situation not made any better by the fact I ate some dodgy kebab shop chicken nuggets last night and am now bedridden with a tummy ache because of it. So what better to do in this time of minor crisis than to do a bit of online shopping, am I right? My student loan will probably be taking a battering soon because everything is so beautiful, plus summer is coming so I have an excuse to pick up some new threads. I've started visiting home more often lately and it's quite annoying having to take a massive suitcase back every time (both for my lack of muscles and all the London commuters who have to watch me struggle) so I'm in the market for a backpack to save me the trouble. Anyone who knows me will know that I love silver and shiny things and this backpack ticks both those boxes, plus will look cool with casual outfits even when I'm not travelling. I'm a big fan of bold lipsticks - it's out of character for me not to wear a bright red lip at all times - and Illamasqua have some amazing shades, from teal green to shimmering purple-pink. My personal favourite from them is "ESP" which is violet and matte, which makes it slightly different from MAC's "Violetta" which I own and love. Plus the name and colour combined reminds me of LSP/Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time which is always a pro. For someone who owns a ton of shoes I have a fairly limited collection of heels and when I saw these beauties from Public Desire I fell in love. The platform means they're easier to walk in (a good thing as they're 6.1 inches!) and I love the cleated sole. I can imagine wearing them with a multitude of different outfits so they're definitely a pair that are worth adding to my shoe family. The Ragged Priest are a brand that I've always loved but only just got into wearing recently, as I bought a pair of their shorts this month (I'll be blogging about them soon). I fell in love with this top as soon as I saw it - isn't it just the cutest? I don't wear t-shirts a lot but I think this one would look cool with a pleated skirt and a simple bralet underneath. I also adore the rain cloud version that isn't up anymore :( Bring it back please! Similarly I've always loved Glitters For Dinner - I follow them on Instagram and probably like every post because all their clothes are just on point. A particular must-have is the As If two pieces which combines all my favourite things - plaid, collars and skater skirts. I love the pink set the most but damnit they're all adorable. Oh, and that Clueless reference in the name is perfect. Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know that I basically live in my three AA tennis skirts - it's actually beyond a joke now. I'm currently lusting after the black version as it's such a great staple piece and will work with outfits for all seasons.

Monday, 20 April 2015


blue faux fur jacket - Topshop
bardot top - ASOS
plaid tennis skirt - American Apparel
silver bag - Michael Kors
lipstick - Nars "Shanghai Express"

I can't put into words how good it feels to be blogging on British Mermaid again. Those who follow me on social media will probably know that in September I started attending university in the beautiful seaside town of Bournemouth to study Journalism, which has always been a huge dream of mine. Because university is extremely time consuming and very different to sixth form life, I've had Mermaid on the back burner for a while but now I'm back and ready to share my outfits with you again! 

This outfit is pretty much what you get if you put together all the components of what I like fashion-wise. My main inspiration, and what has been my favourite sartorial era for the past two years now, is the 90s. I love this American Apparel tennis skirt because the plaid combined with the short hemline and school girl pleats makes me feel very Clueless - I could say I don't have this exact skirt in three different colours (and counting), but I'd be lying. It goes with absolutely everything and I basically live in it but combined with this insane blue faux fur jacket is probably my favourite way to wear it. I've noticed a huge spike in the number of colourful fluffy pieces available to buy lately (as well as being rocked by style icons such as Charli XCX, Rihanna and Alexa Chung) and it makes me stoked. Jackets like this are a great way to add interest to a fairly basic outfit as they can make anything look super cool, however minimalistic or quirky the rest of your ensemble is.

These pictures are part of a shoot that I did with Zac Mahrouche about a month ago when we hung out in London and they're by far my favourite outfit photos I've ever posted on here. Zac is stupidly talented and you should all go look at his work because he's amazing!