The sunny side of London!

Pastely perfection at Notting Hill
So today I was out to get me Schengen visa done, for the third time ever, and for the 2nd time at the TLScontact, visa application centre for the French consulate general, London. I have been told by many sources that they can be a bit on the savoury side but personally, I have only had good experiences thus far, although it is a little (if not alot) surprising that none, not even a single one, of the employee is of native English origin or french for that matter... 

So this is how the procedure goes (for those who may benefit from the info)... 
  • The application is done online via the link for TLScontact application HERE. The first step is to create an account. The application form can be filled online, where you enter all the necessary personal data in, which then registers you to the system, and you could either print the filled form to take with you to the interview or re-fill a new application.
  • Once filled, you are then given options for your interview day (date and time), that you choose according to your convenience.
  • Once registered, the centre sends a confirmation email which is a must-print-and-take for the interview as it confirms that you are indeed booked for that day at security checks.
  • Then just get busy in collecting and preparing all the necessary documents for your trip, be it short stay or long stay, for leisure, private or business... Here's my documents check-list.
  • When the day finally comes for the interview, arrive well ahead of time to be ahead in the queue and don't bring any luggage or sharp objects with you. 
  • After that it's just waiting game for your turn at the centre for your interview at three different counters: registration desk that checks your application form for flaws, counters for documents collection, and then biometric for photo and fingerprints. And that's it really...
For full details, refer here.
The interview generally takes anywhere from 1-3 hours (or even more) depending on the type of application, number of applicants on the day, and the staffs available. Now, I generally always go at least an hour ahead of my scheduled time and keep minimum of 2 solid hours just for the interview. However, when on such official trips, I always travel with some more extra free time at hand. The reason being, if you are short on a few documents or need some extra tit-bits fixed like retaking pics and what not, you are allowed to do so and re-submit the incomplete application within a certain alloted time frame on the day of the appointment... And hence, I booked my return ticket after a good 6.5 hours from the time of my appointment... Better safe than sorry I say...

Anyway, the visa interview went absolutely fine, the staffs were nice and friendly, the whole ordeal took about 2 hours for me, with queuing since a little before 10:30AM, and then waiting to be called for the interview.  Everything went smoothly, and so, since my visa was already done by 12:30 noon time, I had like 5 more hours to spare before I could catch my coach back to Southampton... So what did I do? Well, I planned it all before the interview so I could just up and leave right after the interview without much ado. I looked up all the places I had yet to explore in London that wouldn't require travelling far, and could be done in about 2.5-3 hours. Then suddenly I remembered this lovely house I had been meaning to visit since like forever... A cozy pink house at St. Luke's Mews, Notting Hill... Umm hmm... Everything pastely and pretty is right up that turf... And guess what, as it turned out it was only about 45 minutes walk away from my consulate!

So there I went... Sorted for the day!

What ensued next was me going on a total photo frenzy with my iPad all the way from Holland Park up through the residential area of Notting, all the way till St. Luke's Mews, stopping at EACH AND EVERY freakin' block on the Ladbroke Grove! No kidding... If you are even in London and you want to view something pretty, nothing like a museum but just a casual stroll, be it on a sunny summer day, crisp and cheery spring afternoon, mellow fall evening or a cold rainy winter morning, this place right here will make you fall in love with this charming city instantly... Movies have taken inspirations for romance from this place and you will see why...

I will just let the pictures paint the rest of the story...

The perfect pink house at St. Luke's Mews

 

Notting hill neighbourhood

 

Pastel picture
Notting Hill

Smart houses...

Portabello market, Notting Hill
Portabello market, Notting Hill
Portabello market, Notting Hill
Notting Hill
Notting Hill
Notting Hill
Notting Hill
Notting Hill
Notting Hill

 

St. Luke's Mews

 

St. Luke's Mews neighbourhood
Pretty mint house
St. Luke's Mews
Pretty in pink
St. Luke's Mews neighbourhood

 

Holland Park Neighbourhood

 

Holland Park
Holland park house

Houses of Holland park
Holland Park
Curious wanderer
Beautiful trees
Holland Park Mews
Holland Park neighbourhood
Avenue
 And here is me... Your eager globe-trotter...


Much love...