Category Archive for England

Gothic tour of Highgate Cemetery in North London: British vampire graveyard! FG Properties rental apartments review.

london goths, artist zoetica ebb

When you’re in London with your Gothic comrades… there’s no better place to hang out than in an English graveyard!

Zoetica, Trevor and I spent a spooky afternoon exploring Highgate Cemetery in North London, the final resting spot of George Michael, Sex Pistols punk manager Malcolm McLaren, and other famous Brits.

Beware: according to local lore, these burial grounds are haunted by a vampire. Read on for the ghostly legends, as well as a tour of my classic FG Properties flat.

visit highgate village cemetery

I was happy to reunite with my long-time friends Trevor and Zoetica Ebb, who both relocated from California to London. They’re thoroughly enjoying life in the UK: there are lots of alternative and underground events here (occult life-drawing, and witchcraft courses at the British Museum, to name a few. We also visited the Viktor Wynd cabinet of curiosities together, as you may recall from this post.)

highgate cemetery entrance

It was our first visit to Highgate Cemetery, established in 1837 and a favorite haunt for Goths. We adored the setting from our first glimpse of these black and gold ornate gates, surrounded by autumn leaves.

Visitor info: Highgate is easy to access by the tube on the Northern Line, which passes through Camden. (Might as well visit Camden Market on the way — here’s my guide to Camdenlock). There’s a small entrance fee, and the gates close at 3:30 or 4:30pm, so be sure to get here early).

Graveyard address: Swain’s Ln, Highgate, London N6 6PJ, UK

highgate cemetery tombstones

Highgate Cemetery is split into West and East portions. West Cemetery can be accessed only if you pre-book a tour in advance, since you’ll need a guide to traverse these crumbling older graves. We’ll have to visit the western side next time: it contains some of the most impressive architecture, including the pillared Egyptian Avenue, and Circle of Lebanon.

london haunted graveyard tombs

However, there’s still so much to see the East side. We arrived as the sun was setting, and light was glowing through the crucifixes.

Highgate Cemetery holds 53,000 graves. I confess that we added one more…

luichiny designer boots shoes vintage

… it’s a long story, but Zoetica’s Luichiny boots gave up their last breath during our hangout! We gave these gorgeous shoes a proper send-off in the most Gothic of graveyards.

highgate cemetery west east

Highgate Cemetery was established in 1839, and dedicated to St. James. Fifteen acres are set aside for the Church of England, and two acres for the Dissenters.

The tombs are especially striking in autumn, covered in creeping vines and fallen leaves

zoetica ebb blue hair biorequium

The cemetery’s grounds are lush with vines, shrubbery and wildflowers, most of which have grown naturally and intermingle beautifully with the gravestones.

ancient gravestones highgate

Many of the gravestones are works of art, made more beautiful through decay. Love the effect of the stone-carved chains bound by vines.

haunted tour london highgate vampire

In the early 1970s, locals began reporting sightings of a ghostly figure. Soon, the legend spread that a vampire was haunting Highgate Cemetery!

spooky bizarre weird london

According to one tale, this supernatural being was a King Vampire of the Undead, who practiced black magick in medieval Wallachia (Romania).

It’s easy to understand why Highgate is the site of ghost stories, as you stroll through the overgrown pathways and stumble upon hidden crosses.

london goths, gothic fashion

I think the only vampires you might come across…. are Goths lurking amidst the headstones!

london uk english graveyard

The graveyard is especially striking around Halloween, when the tombstones are covered in creeping vines and fallen leaves.

Many famous artists are buried in Highgate, including musician George Michael, and author Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

george michael highgate cemetery grave

Outfit of the Day: I wore a rose top by Jawbreaker Clothing, faux leather panel leggings by UK Tights, and an old faux fur jacket.

rose gothic top jawbreaker clothing

Close-up on my  Jawbreaker red rose tank top, which I layered over a long sleeved shirt. Love the cross-stitching down the center, and the embroidery detailing. They also have a 90s style tartan and mesh dress that I love.

spooky halloween cemetery london

In the 1970s, quite a few acts of vandalism took place. In response, an organization called Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust was founded in 1975. The Friends took steps to restore the damage, and carefully maintain the property to this day.

goth fashion blogger london uk

As the sun lowered, a groundskeeper walked through ringing a bell — time to clear out. I imagined that he was protecting visitors from vampires, who come out to feast at dusk!

wild strawberries britain

Look for wild strawberries peeping through the leaves. Edible fruits, sprouting from the flesh of the dead.

zoetica ebb artist art

If you’re an artistic, Gothic type like us, Highgate will stir your imagination.

So lovely to reunite with Zoetica Ebbartist / writer / photographer / designer. You might recall I modeled her Alien Botany dress here.

haunted horror london tours

Trevor pointed out this frightening statue of an angel, who looks like she could use an exorcism. He stands in front of a grave marked with the Cross of Lorraine, the double-cross symbol with connotations to the occult, alchemy and Freemasons. 

Trevor is a stylist at Bubblegore Productions / Torso Vintages, and the founder of Sector Spectre Showroom. He once styled me for a shoot at the Conservatory of Flowers (click to see).

marilyn manson devil t-shirt

Trevor wore something fitting for the occasion. (Find a similar Marilyn Manson top here and and here. More below):

black cat on coffin

The grounds are a haven for birds and small animals such as foxes. We came across this creature of the night… a black cat, sitting on a sarcophagus!

black cat graveyard cemetery

If Highgate Cemetery is indeed haunted, this black kitty would know…

karl marx grave highgate cemetery

I leave you with two of the most famous burial sites. On the left is MM – Malcolm McLaren, punk impresario and original manager of the Sex Pistols. On the right is the memorial to Karl Marx. The socialist theorist’s tomb was the site of two attempted bombings by discontents.

highgate cemetery black candle

Don’t forget to stop inside the chapel, and browse the selection of artisan products — including fine books, and this irresistible black Highgate candle.

highgate chapel church london

I leave you with this spectral view of the chapel after dark. The imposing Tudor Gothic building is topped with turrets and a bell tower. Inside, there are two chapels: one for the Church of England and the other for Dissenters.

If you’re intrigued, you can plan a visit and find out more about Highgate Cemetery here.

miffy pajamas, pjs primark

Between my adventures, I looked forward to relaxing in my Miffy pajamas

London hotels are notoriously small and expensive. I solved this problem by renting an apartment from FG Properties. On their site, you can see that they offer short-term rentals and holiday apartments all over London, including the best locations (Chelsea, Kensington, etc).

fg properties rental flat review

My large, airy FG flat (The Fulham Road Residence) was conveniently located near Earl’s Court tube, and had plenty of space to cook and entertain friends. I enjoyed living like a Londoner, and feeling right at home in this cute living room. TV, fast WiFi and all amenities are included.

city relay london airbnb

City Relay manages the flats, and made it easy for me to check in. City Relay has a front desk where you can get help from staff, and leave your luggage if you aren’t ready.

It only took a few minutes for me to get my key, and read the document that explained the WiFi connection and other info. The two bedrooms were stocked with fresh towels and bath products, so I had nothing to worry about.

short term apartment rentals london

Nothing like brewing a cup of tea, and kicking back in my bunny PJs!

I was glad to have a modern kitchen at my disposal. I went around the corner to Sainsbury’s for soup, and cooked it up on the stove with the pots provided. (A great way to save money as well, since eating out in London can be costly.)

fg properties apartments hotel

Staying with FG Properties meant that I could experience living the posh life in Chelsea. How beautiful is the exterior of my rental flat, The Coleherne Road Nest?

rent classic london flat

The living and dining area have high ceilings, and lots of light. There are two bedrooms and a bathroom: the apartment has plenty of room for several people to share.

I was within walking distance of the Saatchi Gallery, Taschen bookstore, contemporary couture boutiques, antique shops, cute bakeries… Chelsea is the perfect neighborhood for a stroll.

fg properties Holiday Flat Rental London

FG Properties is the perfect balance between a hotel and AirBNB. You get to live in a spacious home filled with personality, supplied with fresh linens, water bottles water and toiletries.

london apartment rental fg properties

The comfortable sofa called my name, after a long day of sightseeing.

If you’re looking for a reliable, modern yet affordable place to stay in London, FG Properties has my hearty recommendation.

skylon restaurant bar grill menu

I’ll end my London stories with two fine meals. I had the opportunity to dine at the renown Skylon Restaurant Bar & Grill. (Address: Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 8XX)

Part of D&D London, the restaurant is located in Royal Festival Hall, with panoramic views across the River Thames.

southbank london ferris wheel

Skylon is located in Southbank, an area worth visiting. The waterfront has cute stores, public art exhibitions on display, a skate park, a luminous carousel, and the iconic London Eye Ferris wheel. Sit by one of Skylon’s picture windows, and take in the lively view below. (Photos by Joey Wong).

skylon bar cocktails

Inside, the upscale bar splits the space into two sections: the grill, and fine dining. Skylon has a large selection of cocktails based on various flavor families such as “spice, smoke and cinnamon”. I loved my tequila-infused lemongrass, with red bell pepper and paprika syrup, and egg whites.

skylon restaurant london drinks

The outstanding bartenders also made me custom cocktails, based on my favorite tastes and decorated creatively.

Skylon offers a set tasting menu based on truffles. We decided to order a-la-carte, beginning with a refreshing smoked salmon cannelloni with creme fraiche, salmon caviar, and chervil.

skylon fine dining london food

The juicy, braised ox cheek was served with a flavorful sauce, which paired well with freshly grilled vegetables.

london creative desserts skylon

I ended with what appeared to be a poisoned apple — but turned out to be a light and nuanced dessert. The cloud meringue also made a sweet end to the meal. If you’re looking for a special meal with an epic view of London, Skylon is the place to be.

quaglino's restaurant london

Before seeing The Exorcist live in theater, I had dinner at the nearby Quaglino’s. (Location: 16 Bury St, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6AJ, UK)

The enormous brasserie-style restaurant is located in the heart of St. James. Recently renovated, the glowing bar and staircase are… “lit.” 

cocktails quaglinos west end

Quaglino’s has been a “happening” dining establishment since the 1930s; Queen Elizabeth II even dined here in 1956.

The bar has a massive cocktail selection, from fresh botanicals to vintage liqueurs. On the right, I’m savoring every sip of “The Happy Widow” — made with vintage Remy Martin XO, benedictine, yellow chartreuse, apricot brandy and bitters.

black white striped bathroom

Quaglino’s was revamped with flair by D&D London. The result is modern meets old-school Mayfair charm. Don’t miss out on the bathrooms, which remind me of Beetlejuice’s suit.

quaglino's london menu dinner

The menu is based on seasonal flavors. Since I was there around Halloween, I got to savor the perfectly cooked saffron risotto, with winter greens and aged pecorino. My friend Vanessa loved her roast sea bream with caramelised cauliflower, curried raisin and coriander.

desserts quaglino's review

We had a healthy starter: salmon tartare with herb and green chili emulsion. This gave us a great excuse to indulge in the chocolate marquis dessert. Quaglino’s was a West End meal to remember.

It’s time to say “cheerio” to London for now… but I’m sure I will return soon. I hope you enjoyed these stories from Great Britain! For more travel tips (including Shoreditch, Camden, Goth clubs and shopping), check out my England blog posts here.

PS: I’m doing a travel AMA (Ask Me Anything) here on AMAFeed. Feel free to submit questions to me, and I’ll answer them in depth!


Filed Under England, Fashion

A Gothic Halloween in London, UK! Viktor Wynd cabinet of curiosities, absinthe bar, horror-themed afternoon tea.

nightmare before christmas shirt top fashion

Happy Nightmare before Christmas!

I’m not much of an X-mas person…. so in the spirit of Jack Skellington, this post is going to be about how to celebrate Halloween in London, United Kingdom!

london satanic temple satanists party

Ye ol England was one of the original centers of Goth subculture, and remains one of the best cities for Gothic, bizarre and underground festivities. I spent Halloween 2017 with my friends in London, and it turned out to be one of the best All Hallows Eves yet.

Our dark bacchanal included the Black Devil Disco Club with the Satanic Temple (above), seeing The Exorcist stage play, enjoying monster-movie themed afternoon tea, and drinking absinthe at a cabinet of oddities. Keep reading for details of these London Halloween bars, events and parties! 

winter goth gothic outfit clothing

But first, a peek at my Nightmare Before Xmas outfit. You won’t catch me wearing red and green this season. Instead, I like to layer faux fur during the winter, and break out my Sorel knee-high boots. (Click below to see where I got these items.)

girardi over knee socks, kneehigh stockings

Tis the season… for unique stockings and socks! My go-to source is always UK Tights — they ship worldwide, and have the largest online selection of legwear, including fishnets, patterned and luxury hosiery.

uk tights luxury legwear, knee socks

Since it’s now too cold to go barelegged, I’ve been reaching for above-the-knee or thigh-high socks. I love the alternative look of these Girardi Meredith hold-ups, especially when paired with a short black skirt and sweater. The faux leather cuff at the top stays securely, and is decorated with an adorable bow.

You can find these socks and other fashion legwear from my friends UK TightsI’ll be wearing these and more all winter.

faux fur jacket short skirt

– Here’s a different spin on this look. I’m accessorizing with a holographic Cyberdog backpackand Moat House wood sunglasses.
– My faux fur jacket is from Pretty Attitude, similar to this furry and this ombre jacket.
– I’m wearing these exact Sorel boots (the After Hours no tongue lace-up boots in redwood leather). For more info, click below.

satanic gathering england event

Now, let’s descend into the London Underworld. When you see Baphomet and a pentagram… you know you’ve entered the den of the British Satanists!

This pre-Halloween event was organized by The Satanic Temple London & UK. It was the first edition of their “Black Devil Disco Club,” which brings together two of my favorite things (the devil and disco).

london britain satanic temple club

Established in 2016, The Satanic Temple’s mission is to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, to reject tyrannical authority, and to advocate practical common sense and justice.”

The members are atheist, and advocate for fact-based science, and marginalized communities. Everyone I met at the event was kind and inclusive.

satanic interior decor, art posters

At the Black Devil Disco night, the DJs played tracks by Patrick Cowley, Giorgio Moroder and other Italo Disco heroes. Between boogieing, you could get a tarot reading or “leave something witchy” in the candlelit back room.

The Satanic Temple of London and UK hosts gatherings like this year-round. Check out their chapters’s Facebook page to see what’s coming up next.

the exorcist play, phoenix theatre

I wanted to do some “only in London” excursions, such as seeing a play in the West End. I’m not a fan of cheesy musicals, so I didn’t come across anything appealing… until I learned The Exorcist was opening at the Phoenix Theatre! 

I reunited with my friend Vanessa, and we went to one of the first showings of The Exorcist. I was keen to see how they’d adapt William Peter Blatty’s horror novel and 1970s movie, for a live stage production.

the exorcist london west end stage show

We weren’t allowed to shoot photos during the performance, so I’m doing my best impression of Regan, the little girl possessed by a demon (voiced by Sir Ian McKellen.) The cast nailed their parts, especially during the battle against the evil spirit Pazuzu.

The Exorcist’s lighting and set were outstanding, especially the spooky candlelight confessions and blood writings on the wall. There were jump-scares, and fantastic effects — let’s just say, they’re literally hair-raising and head-turning.

If you’re in London and a horror fan, The Exorcist is the play for you. Tickets and info here — this is a limited run show, which ends on March 10, 2018.

movie monster theme party decor food

What else is a rather British activity? Afternoon tea.

There are many London venues for tea and finger sandwiches. However, when I read that Royal Lancaster Hotel was offering a Halloween afternoon tea, I knew I’d found my place. (Address: Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY, UK)

I entered the recently-renovated modern hotel, and was delighted to see that the tearoom was decorated in the theme of 1960s horror movies! Royal Lancaster nailed the classy details: everything is in black and white, with celluloid-printed menus and a clapboard that read 666.

royal lancaster halloween afternoon tea

Out came a black-and-white themed tray, with a fog of dry ice! Royal Lancaster’s ArTea set included a mix of creatively-designed, delicious savories and sweets.

My favorites included the cucumber and pumpernickel sandwiches, sushi with black caviar, a scotch egg with black crust, and popcorn in a coffin (a nod to the film theme). The macaroons and checkered cake went perfectly with our pots of tea: we ordered a selection, including classic Earl Grey, and a ginger medley.

psycho hitchcock party screening

Royal Lancaster chose a 1960s classic horror theme since this year is the hotel’s 50th birthday. The tearoom set the mood with black-and-white footage from Hitchcock’s Psycho.

audrey carnivorous plants halloween

I loved the imaginative, classy take on the theme (this doesn’t feel like a kid’s kitschy Halloween experience). All around the room, there were carnivorous plants in homage to Audrey, the Venus fly trap from Little Shop of Horrors. 

royal lancaster black white london halloween menu

We ended our monochrome meal with freshly-backed black scones, with clotted cream, marmalade, and cake pops. Royal Lancaster ArTea offers seasonal afternoon teas year-round, but their Halloween one is especially a treat.

viktor wynd museum of curiosities

Also open year-round is the mysterious Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities. The glowing exterior looks like something out of a Victorian fantasy novel — and that just about sums up the experience of visiting Viktor’s lair. Push open these doors, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by bizarre, macabre and kitschy oddities from around the world. 

(Viktor Wynd / Last Tuesday Society address: 11 Mare St, London E8 4RP)

viktor wynd wunderkabinett bar

Viktor leads tours that are a mix of story-telling and performance art. The space is a throwback to Wunderkabinetts of past centuries: mesmerizing collections of taxidermy, natural phenomena, tribal art, and other esoteric wonders.

london goth bar, last tuesday society

In addition, the museum is home to East London’s Most Curious Cocktail Bar. A giant lobster overlooks the bar, stocked with tinctures for pre-Prohibition drinks.

london absinthe bar uk gothic

My friends Zoetica Ebb and Trevor cuddled up with the top-hatted lion, and we enjoyed absinthe with a sugar cube and water drip. Behind them, you can see spellbinding works from the temporary “Of Shadows” exhibition on loan from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. (Next time, I’ll share our photoshoot in Highgate Cemetery.)

viktor wynd witchcraft exhibition

The charismatic Viktor leads his guests down a winding spiral staircase, and into a basement filled with thousands of strange objects. He begins at a glass case dedicated to dandies such as Quentin Crisp and Stephen Tennant. He especially admires Sebastian Horsley, and keeps his Saville Row suit and nails from his crucifixion down here.

viktor wynd weird collections antiques

The theme of decadence, excess and self-creation carries through all the cabinets of wonders. Viktor Wynd’s collection includes shrunken heads (he spoke of spending time with the tribes of New Guinea and Congo), Happy Meal toys, rare and perverse books, mermaid skeletons

skulls bizarre goth museum london

You can interact with many of the objects, and ask Viktor about their origins. True to the mad dandy personality, he’ll probably answer with a cryptic tale that has you thirsting for more. 

Gnostic Temple of Agape victor wind

For a dark dining experience, you can rent out the room on the right for a private meal. Guests sit on crimson banquettes, under a preserved sea monster, and feast on a sarcophagus table with a skeleton inside!

On the left, Viktor sits at a table that was once used for secret occult rituals. The Gnostic Temple of Agape was discovered beneath an old building, and brought here for preservation.

ancient pentacles drawings rituals

He writes in his guidebook (which everyone on the tour receives for free): “For hundreds, if not thousands, of years, The Temple, under the guardianship of the initiates, has been used as a place to celebrate the divine gift of love, to create spells, practice alchemy and summon angels and spirits from the other world.” The book of magic sits outside, beckoning you to decipher its spells.

bizarre london england art gallery

Let your imagination soar at  Viktor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities and The Last Tuesday Society. Check out their site for special events, and I encourage you to come for a glass of absinthe and tour with Viktor for a delightfully bizarre experience.

devil satan sculpture london chelsea

London turned out to be one hell of a destination for Halloween! There was plenty of spooky decor, food and attractions all around the city (I didn’t get to check out the London Dungeon or Jack the Ripper walking tour, but both were also recommended by local friends).

I leave you with some snaps from Chelsea. Skeleton and skull cookies from Gail’s Bakery, and a staring statue of Lucifer.

ouija board chocolates chocolate box

And how fabulous is this Ouija board box of chocolate, from Artisan du Chocolat? They also had pumpkin-shaped and flavored chocolates.

I still have another Gothic post from London to come, about Highgate Cemetery. And if you’re looking for Goth and alternative shopping, check out my Camden Market and Shoreditch guide.

Did you know that London had these dark attractions? If I missed out on anything, let me know in the comments and I’m sure I will be back in Britain soon.

Gothic punk alternative shopping in London, England! Camden Market Cyberdog, hipster Shoreditch fashion.

kat williams rock n roll bride blogger

London calling! If you’re planning to travel to the English capital, this shopping guide is for you.

Read on for a comprehensive Goth  / punk/  hipster tour of London’s most alternative districts, Shoreditch and Camden! 

I was overjoyed to reunite with my long-time friend Kat Williams of Rock n Roll Bride (we went to Prague together years ago).

cyberdog store interior hats

We spent the day exploring two of London’s “youth culture” neighborhoods: Camden Market (Gothic punk rave) and Shoreditch (hipster and artistic).

If you’re in a shopping mood, this post comes at a good time because…

it's black friday clothing haul goth fashion

It’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday! From Nov 24-27, there are major sales on Gothic / alternative / kawaii clothing online. If you love dark fashion, I’ve rounded up some of the best deals for you.

❤ Some of my favorite Goth clothing brands — Disturbia, Killstar, Iron Fist, Valfre and Morph8ne — are currently having sales! (Click these names to see.)

You can also find tons of discounts at the following sites. Just check out the URLs below:

Dolls Kill  ❤ Amazon ❤  Hot Topic ❤ Kat von D  ❤ Sephora ❤Etude House ❤ Valfre

Feel free to share / re-post this to let your friends know!

Here’s a compilation of my favorite items. For details on these Iron Fist goodies, click the thumbnails:

If you’re a fan of Killstar – there are lots of sale prices here…

morph8ne dress dollskill black friday deals

Morph8ne – click for reductions.

Disturbia – #blackfriday #cybermonday promo codes below, and more here. Have fun!

fashion blogger house design decor living room

Here’s another version of my outfit of the day (shot in my apartment; more photos of my home here.) My skull and roses Gothic sweater is by Jawbreaker Clothing.  The light knit keeps me warm, and the Gothic embroidery design truly stands out!

I paired it with After Hours No Tongue knee-high leather boots by Sorel Footwear (this style comes in both redwood and black.)

camdenlock london, sai sai lolita

Now, back to my alt shopping guide of London UK. Kat and I started in Camden Market, the long-time hangout of British punks, Goths, metalheads and other alt youths.

To get here, take the tube (subway) — Northern Line to Camden station — and walk outside. You’ll immediately come across all sorts of alternative stores (such as the Gothic Lolita boutique, Sai Sai) and Camdenlock (where I stopped for a shot of fresh orange juice).

camden market tattoo parlors

The vibe reminds me of St Mark’s Place in NYC, but larger (there are over 1000 stores). I first visited Camden over 10 years ago, and was mesmerized by the scene. Today, this remains the go-to place for tattoo and piercing parlors, and dark fashion. 

camdon london uk goth punk stores

The storefronts are creatively decorated with giant shoes, elephant heads, dancing girls, and even a dragon that appears to be twisting around a building.

new rock boots shop camden

New Rock has a shop, with an entire wall displaying hardcore stomper boots and leather shoes.

camden market indie stores gothic

London was one of the earliest centers of Goth and punk subculture, with bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Damned, Alien Sex Fiend, and the Sex Pistols. These influences live on in various parts of the cities, but especially Camden Lock.

stranger things waffle pop up food truck

Camden is also a wonderful place for food, with lots of small stands selling ethnic cuisine, sweets, and creative takeaway. Kat and I saw a man at a Chinese fast food station, joyously singing “I’m a Barbie girl!”

When I visited, I encountered the Stranger Things pop-up food truck, which doled out fresh waffles. The lineup was too long, so I went around the corner and got a fresh ginger-lemon-honey drink that hit the spot.

alternative goth shopping guide london

Camden’s alt stores differ in quality. The main streets mainly have inexpensive souvenirs, so we gravitated to the smaller, inner alleyways. Here, you’ll find beautiful handmade goods such as this peacock feather neckline. Many of the shops are run by the designers, giving you a chance to meet them and make a custom order.

gothic lolita clothes london tainted prince

The shops are constantly changing around, but there’s always a great mix of underground styles. I  snapped these photos at Tainted Prince, a Victorian / steampunk / elegant Gothic aristocrat / kodona dressmaker. Kat and I also went inside a few K-pop streetwear and vaporwave / Tumblr aesthetic boutiques.

cyberdog robot statue exterior camden

My favorite Camden store remains Cyberdog, which seems to contain an entire universe of futuristic fashion.

Cyberdog blasted off in the 1990s, and continues to innovate with rave clubwear and high-tech accessories. The mothership (and largest store) is this one in Camden Market, located in a building that was once the living / rehearsal space of punk band The Clash.

(Cyberdog address: 842 Chalk Farm Rd, London NW1 8AH, UK)

cyber dog store london england

Inside, you feel like you’ve stepped into a scene from the Hackers movie. Two floors of clothing, jewelry, shoes and toys, lit up with neon lights and pumping with the sound of EDM.

ufo sci fi london store

The space was decorated with cobwebs and other Halloween elements for “Cyber-Ween.” I imagined I was being abducted by the UFO, and posted with the giant robot with flashing green eyes. 

cybergoth club party london

I was blown away by the staff’s attention to detail — their makeup and fashion skills were A++. The store goes all out to maintain an immersive sci-fi environment. Note the escalators with flashing rainbow lights and moving 8-bit characters! 

rave clubbing clubwear store london

True to its concept, many of Cyberdog’s designs creatively incorporate futuristic components. These include space-age fabrics (florescent, holographic) and tech (flashing lights, electronics, LEDs). On this wall, you can spot my light-up mini backpack.

london goths, gothic clothes

The sweet staff illustrate two of the many looks you can put together at Cyberdog. Whether you’re into Goth, Industrial, rave clubwear, Burning Man, flower child… there’s something unique to be found.

(The store also has relatively “normal” shirts with the mecha-devil-alien logo, for those who are less experimental dressers!)

mermaid unicorn glitter makeup

I first visited Cyberdog about 10 years ago (when it was in a smaller Camden location), and was delighted to see the brand maintain its subculture roots. The staff welcomed me enthusiastically, and I could tell they were truly passionate about underground music and lifestyles.

futuristic architecture glowing lights

The Camdenlock store is immense — I felt like I was exploring an extraterrestrial city. One section is adults-only, and dedicated to Cyberdog’s “Futurelovers” brand. Launched in 2012, it sells sex toys and fetish clothing (displayed in what appear to be alien pods!)

s&m fetish torture garden london

It’s amazing to see how much Cyber Dog has spawned, from a small Camden Market stall in 1994. The founders, designer Terry Davy and business manager Spiros Vlahos, named the label after their pet chihuahua, “Chichi the Cyberdog.”

maleficent devil horns headgear

The rave days of the 90s are over, but electronic / club music continues to evolve and thrive. Today, EDM festivals like Ultra are held worldwide, and Burning Man attracts record numbers. I’m personally loving synthwave (future 80s synth sounds) — this devilish headpiece would be perfect for a Perturbator concert.

cyberdog staff halloween costumes

From goggles to vinyl skirts and O-ring necklaces, the company has a huge selection of items. You can shop for everything from Cyberdog’s website (I remember ordering from their site in the early 2000s!)

cyberdog makeup led eyelashes

Cyberdog keeps a pulse on the latest beauty trends, such as glow in the dark makeup, and LED false eyelashes.

electric buddha meditation sign

There’s a section for home goods too, and gifts from the year 3000.

futuristic future fashion designs

I could see the Jetsons in these intergalactic dresses. And how about this fuzzy pink hat?

cyber goth dancers cyberdog

There were even live Industrial / club dancers in the store… and I wonder what those robotic arms can do.

cyberdog camden market interior

If you’re in London, ride a rocketship to CyberdogTheir Camden Market store is full of eye candy, and lets you dress (and feel) as if you’re in outerspace. 

cyberdog logo rave robots

The shop is easy to find: just look for these two silver robots guarding the entrance!

london goth metal fashion bloggers

Kat then took me to Shoreditch, which has become London’s “hipster neighborhood” in recent years. Quite a few alleyways are emblazoned with colorful murals.

To get here, take the overground to Shoreditch High Street, or take the London Tube to Aldgate, Bethnal Green or Liverpool Street and walk.

london halloween cute donuts

Shoreditch is the place to go if you’re into indie and vintage shopping. We admired minimal jewelry, and ducked into a Halloween charity shop. Kat and I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of these spooky donuts by Dum Dums Donutterie (I spot a ghost, Frankenstein’s monster, spider, and zombie eye).

rock roll bride magazine kat williams

Be sure to stop by Boxpark, a retail complex made from shipping containers. There are lots of hip boutiques and pop-ups here, including The Ordinary (inexpensive science-based skincare). Kat’s holding a pink bag from Skinnydip, the London soft grunge / pastel cute brand (below is more info):

shoreditch hipsters street art

Located in the East End, Shoreditch has an eclectic, artsy feeling. You can find lots of ethnic food here, including a row of Indian curry houses that all claim to have won a “best of London” award.

mistress may poster mural

I was impressed by the street art that runs through Shoreditch. Many of the works have an ear to politics, such as this S&M commentary on “Mistress May.” 

queen elizabeth england shoreditch art

“I am an Immigrant” sits next to the Queen of England.

brexit protest art shoreditch

Young Brits have been pondering “Brexit?” ever since the unexpected vote to leave the EU. It’s fascinating to see the notes and art, scrawled in response to these current topics.

shoreditch hipster district graffiti

I’ll have to come back soon to spend more time in this vibrant neighborhood. I left before a taste of Shoreditch nightlife, but noticed some original themed bars (a circus-themed one, and a Ballie Ballerson ball pit).

london colored hair bloggers instagram

V-fingers for a fantastic day with Kat! (I paired my Jawbreaker Clothing skull and flowers wide-neck sweater with a leather biker jacket.)

rainbow hair alternative fashion bloggers uk

If you haven’t heard of Kat’s website, Rock n Roll Bride, you’re missing out. She features alternative weddings from around the world, from Victorian to glam rock. It’s the ultimate resource for anyone planning an offbeat wedding (or simply looking for inspiration), and also features Kat’s travel, lifestyle and fashion adventures in different countries. Kat also publishes Rock n Roll Bride print magazine, which we spotted in WHSmith and other British newsstands!

More from London to come — for now, here’s my previous Goth guide to London.

❤ And don’t forget to shop those Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals while they last!
❤  If you don’t know where to start, try Dolls Kill — and here’s a compilation of my top sales picks.



Fashion & Travel Blogger: 2015 highlights, memories, videos! Working with hotels & tourism boards.

steampunk hair, classical goth

2015 is drawing to a close… Time for my annual blog ritual of looking back at the highlights of the year! 

In my 2014 recap (see part 1 and part 2), I was determined to dedicate more of this site to travel and subculture stories. I feel like this goal came into fruition: my work took me to 14 different countries in 2015, where I covered alternative topics ranging from British Goth festivals to Moroccan beauty workshops.

giuseppina magazine cover, la carmina

In this post, I’ll share how these projects came together, and reminisce on my favorite memories of the first six months (above is my Giuseppina Magazine cover – here is the whole shoot). I’ve also embedded my travel videos from each destination, in case you missed them when they first came out.

And the year’s not quite done yet… Two more destinations ahead. Find out what they are at the end of this post, and on my social networks (@lacarmina, linked below). Thanks for being part of my journey, and here’s to a meaningful 2016!

Find @LaCarmina on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, YouTube, Facebook page

hong kong fashion instagram snapchat

My travel filmmakers and I started the year in Hong Kong, where we were working with the new Hotel Sav. I always love coming back to this city, where I have many friends and relatives.

hong kong boutique art hotel

It was an incredible honor to have my own hotel room at Sav, which I decorated with artist Naomiyaki! This “Floor of Love” project appealed to us because it had the goal of elevating a traveller’s stay through art, and giving back to charity.

Check out all my Hong Kong articles here for the behind-the-scenes story of how we made a “La Carmina” room, and what these paintings represent.

We also celebrated Chinese New Year for the first time, in Hong Kong.

Dragon dances, fireworks and food… take a moment to watch the travel video above, to see it all in action.

line store harajuku bear stuffed

Next, my film team and I flew to Tokyo, Japan. We were working once again with trip-planning startup Odigo. I had the time of my life at the Odigo launch party with my friends.

sanrio theme cafe, pom pom purin

We also did stories and videos about the bizarre, kawaii attractions found only in Japan. From the Pompompurin puppy cafe (above) to the mecha Gundam robot, you can see the latest pop culture oddities in all my Tokyo posts.

And above is the Tokyo travel video — Pokemon cafe, Suspiria horror pubs, game centers and more madness.

iceland futuristic church reykjavik

In the spring, I finally visited one of my top dream destinations: Iceland. The country is like nowhere else, with science fiction buildings and an otherworldly landscape.

My Reykjavik memories include exploring the street art and prismatic architecture, eating insanely fresh seafood, and meeting the RuPaul drag queens (they were randomly performing while we were there).

iceland blue lagoon girl

You absolutely must take a nature tour in Iceland. Our wonderful guides Salty Tours took us to secret spots including black sand beaches, waterfalls and elf caves, instead of the usual Golden Circle. (Here are all my Iceland photos and posts, to help you plan a trip here.)

Enjoy the ethereal video of my Iceland adventures above and on YouTube @lacarmina. There’s footage of me dipping into the Blue Lagoon and taking selfies with plump Icelandic horses!

british afternoon tea party decor

My white rabbit (Miffy) and I went onward to Manchester UK, where we were working on stories with support from the tourism board. These British adventures included Alice in Wonderland high tea…

salford and sons, the smiths fan club

… and a pilgrimmage to Manchester music landmarks, including Salford and Sons. (Enjoy the full story about my The Smiths and Joy Division music tour.)

whitby england dracula castle

After a train ride through the Yorkshire countryside, I arrived at the seaside town of Whitby. We did a magazine cover shoot at the Dracula abbey that inspired the Bram Stoker novel.

whitby goth weekend costumes

Such fun to finally experience Whitby Goth Weekend, where Andi Sex Gang and other Gothic greats performed. For more photos of the event, take a gander at all my England posts.

tokyo cat temple, thousands cats statues

I then went back to Tokyo, Japan for a Travel Channel TV shoot. I can’t reveal anything about this TV hosting gig yet, but when it airs next year, I’ll be sure to let you know.

I also got to see the Japanese cat temples, Gotokuji and Imado shrines (featuring thousand of lucky cat statues). I haven’t had a chance to blog about this yet… still so many posts from 2015 that need to go up…

singapore merlion sunrise

In May, I traveled to Singapore for the first time (it was a year of many firsts). We got insider access at Marina Bay Sands, and ate our way around the city — from high end molecular gastronomy, to hawker center street food.

singapore hipsters hip restaurant

I still have a Little India and Chinatown post to share with you, but until I get around to it, you can see all my Singapore travel tips so far.

bali ubud pura temple

And then, there was Bali — land of temples and spirituality. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here with my friends Cohica Travel, and think back fondly at our temple tour around Ubud.

bali cooking classes

We also had far too much fun taking a Bali cooking class at the Ritz-Carlton Nusa Dua, with these jolly chefs!

I invite you to check out my Indonesia posts here, for a visual diary of my time on the island.

travel instagram accounts follow influencers

That takes us up to June! Next up, I’ll look back at memories from the second half of the year.

karisma experience, el dorado hotel mexico

And what’s next? Off to New York City and Mexico — with partner in crime Yukiro! We’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve, and kicking back at the new Karisma El Dorado resort in Riviera Maya / Tulum.

I’ll be posting inspiration all throughout these travels. Join us on my social networks @lacarmina — Instagram, Twitter, Vine, YouTube, Facebook page.

christmas card scottish fold cat, kitten

How about you — what were your favorite moments of 2015? Did you achieve any goals that you set, or experience something extraordinary?