W Cafe at Piccadilly

Hi booklovers! As you might know, it was my birthday last week and as a birthday present, Waterstone's said I could pick up some free cake at their W cafe! Well, I'm not one to say no to free food OR to pass the opportunity to share this beautiful place with you.

This post might not be completely book-ish, but it's a cafe in a bookstore (the most beautiful bookstore in London), so I think it counts!

So this was the view from the cafe from where I was sitting. As you can see (kinda hopefully) it's an in-between level in Waterstone's. It's right at the back entrance of the store, so you have a view of Jermyn Street. Not only does that mean you can see beautiful old buildings, it also means that you can people-watch while no one can see it, which is perfect.


Even more perfect, is the amazing walls of books and magazines. In my left pic, you can see the wall of art books that are displayed in the cafe. It really reminds you that you are in a bookstore! See all those colours in the distance in the right pic? THOSE ARE ALL MAGAZINES. Gorgeous, glossy magazines that are all there for you to touch and buy. I don't even really like magazines, but this wall just made we want to buy all of them.


So that's my small review of the W cafe that you can visit after stocking up on classics at Waterstone's. It might not be books, but I think this is a damn good place to read all the books you've bought!

Book store review: Stanfords

Stanfords is located in the heart of Covent Garden in London and this is an amazing bookstore for a very specific audience. Are you in London on a trip or are you just bitten by the travel bug? Stanfords will satisfy all your needs!


First off, the building of Stanfords is gorgeous even before you see the inside. It's a beautiful old building, with some great display windows. If you think it's just travel books, you are wrong! When I went, there was also a nice collection of children's book displayed.


But the outside is nothing - we booklovers want a great selection of books and Stanfords definitely delivers. As is well known, Stanfords is mostly a bookstore for travellers. They have an upstairs floor with a special department which specialises in maps. I've heard that not only can you buy any map ever made, you can even get your own gorgeous maps (like the one of the floor) made. Sounds like a perfect present for the traveller in your life to me!



But if you're a tourist and can't actually carry a custom made, gorgeous, massive map with you, there are plenty of tour booklets so you can explore London. As an added bonus, there are some great postcards you can buy so you can show off that 1. you've been to a great travel bookstore and 2. you've gotten some great tips on where to go in London!





The only downside for me is the fact that I don't like travel books that much. I usually google everything I need to know and travel memoirs just don't really do it for me. There are fiction books, but just not enough compared to other stores.





So would I buy something in Stanfords for myself? Probably not. Will it become my go-to store for presents? Definitely.

If you are even remotely interested in travel OR gorgeous bookstores, do yourself a favour and get down to Covent Garden to see this beauty of a store!


Cambridge book stores

About three weeks ago, I decided to go on an impromptu trip to Cambridge with my roommate.
I thought I had never been (though my parents told me I've been plenty of times when I was little) and wanted to see what kind of city it was and what kind of bookstores they have!

So I present to you a special bookstore review: the bookstores I visited in Cambridge. 


The first - and my favorite shop of Cambridge - is Heffers bookstore. Now, the name is super weird but don't let that put you off from an amazing store! I took so many pictures there, that I've put them into a slideshow to make sure this whole post is not only pics!

Doesn't it look pretty? That's my roommate modelling some things for you guys :) 

The best part of Heffers was the amazing Young Adult section. They had so many YA books there and most of them in both hardcover and paperback. I'm still on my bookbuying ban, so I behaved, but it was very hard!

Recommended for: I'll recommend Heffers for people who like popular books and good deals because they're cheap. It's also perfect for an afternoon with children (just look at that kid's section!).




It is no secret that I have a weak spot for Waterstone's, so being in Cambridge I just had to check out their store. 


What I learned is that every Waterstone's in Britain looks alike - they just vary in sizes. But that doesn't mean I loved this store any less, because they're just all awesome. I always look at the classics in Waterstone's, because I feel like they always have an amazing collection.


And this store didn't disappoint! SO MANY CLASSICS. ALL SO PRETTY. Especially those gorgeous metallic Fitzgerald books you can see in the front there. I love those. Overall, this store was smaller than Heffers and not that impressive for me because I have Waterstone's Piccadilly on my doorstep, but they still have AMAZING books.

Recommended for: People who are used to the Waterstone's system and people who are looking for many editions of a classic novel!


Cambridge University Bookshop 

Now this bookshop is a little bit different - it's an academic bookshop and I mostly went in there to see if I could find anything that would help me with this Shakespeare essay I have to write.


(The weather took a turn, so all the pictures are darker!) This bookshop was closer to the schools and it was such a different store than I expected because it did not just have academic books, but also 'normal' reading books.


In that picture for example, you can see an early version of The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald (the red and black book on the top)! How cool! I almost bought it, but the 40 pounds that it cost just completely put me off. It's still really cool to see though.

Recommended for: non-suprisinhly, I would recommend this store for academics, students or people who want to continue learning. Or anyone who's looking for a special book.

G. David Bookseller

Now the wildcard of the bunch: a second hand bookshop hidden in a small street in Cambridge.


That's all you can see from the store, so you really have to look for it. I found it online right before we left and decided that I had to see it. And I wasn't disappointed.


These are just a few of the gorgeous books that were outside and the inside was even crazier. I couldn't take any pictures, because it was so small and so busy, but there are just books everywhere! Old books, new books, popular books, barely known books - you can find everything here.

And I did break my bookbuying ban in this store:


I have a weak spot for the orange Penguin classics and Little Women is one of my mother's favourite classics, so I have wanted it for a while already and this one is just perfect. It's classic and gorgeous and a nice size to carry in my bag - I'm in love with it!

Recommended for: I'd recommend this store for people that don't mind digging for their books. It's pretty unorganised so make sure you have time to explore the whole store. If you do, you might find a pretty special book in there!


So with the breaking of my bookban, it was also the end of the Cambridge trip. I'm sure there are a lot more bookshops in Cambridge, but I only had a day so these are the ones I saw. If you're ever going to Cambridge, you should definitely visit all four of these and let me know what other bookstores there are!

Bookstore Review: Skoob Books London


Location: 3 out of 5 Almost impossible to find, but near plenty of tube stations. So I guess if you've been there once, the location is okay. 

Layout store: 2 out of 5 Messy. Messy. Messy. 

Offer: 4 out of 5 Lots and lots of books, especially academic books.

Overall: 3 out of 5 I think it's great for academics who want cheap books, but I doubt I'll go back. 


Finally a bookstore review again! Between travelling back to Belgium and living on a book ban (London is expensive kiddos), there really haven't been many trips to the bookshops. But I wanted to go to Skoob Books the moment I read about it months ago, so I decided I was allowed. Just once doesn't break the ban, right?

Struggle one is finding Skoob Books. Besides the fact that I always get lost in the streets of Bloomsbury, the story is also mostly under the ground.


This is the entrance and thankfully it's in a mall-like building so there are signs guiding you straight to it. Otherwise, I would have walked past it. This entrance is very "meh" and not inviting, but just like with books, don't judge the store by its cover.


However, as you can see in the picture above, the moment you come downstairs, it quickly becomes very book-ish. There are literally books EVERYWHERE, which gives this store an amazing book smell, and they have every genre. But what is also very clear from the pictures is that it's kinda messy.


I think the idea is that the books are divided in genres and ordered alphabetically, but it wasn't really successful. Books were on the floor, on the closets and on top of other books, which makes it impossible to keep them in some kind of order. It is effective if you want to put as many books as possible in one store, but it doesn't make for easy browsing. Maybe I'm just lazy or easily overwhelmed, but it didn't work for me. Too many books, too little order. 


My salvation was to focus on two sections that I liked: Shakespeare and the original orange Penguin books. There was an amazing section on Shakespeare, as seen above, and though it was messily organised, it was small enough to be browsable. 

And those orange books? SO PRETTY. I WANT THEM ALL. Who cares if those are organised? I need them all and that's easy enough to pick out.




So I walked away from the store with these books:

- The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

- The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (Be still my Shakespeare heart, it was only 13 pounds!!)

- Coriolanus - Shakespeare (Can anyone tell I'm doing a MA in lit?

- The Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison

- and a secret Christmas present for my father!



Overall, the store wasn't really my cup of tea. It also didn't help that the lady who helped me at the cash register was incredibly rude. I get that you're in a basement and that it's hot there, but it was a quiet-ish day and we didn't even need your help. No need to be rude.

So even though it pains me to say, this bookstore just didn't really do it for me. The selection is great and I love the smell of books that is in the air there, but it the bad customer service and the unorganised experienced just ruined it for me. Sorry, no more Skoob Books for this London girl any time soon.



Bookshop Review: Waterstones Charing Cross - The Classics


Location: 5 out of 5 Near Charing Cross tube station, which is amazing since I live on the Northern Line. Also on Trafalgar Square and walking distance to the Big Ben. Perfection.

Layout store: 4 out of 5 I'm a big fan of the basement floor.

Offer: 4 out of 5 They are limited in space, but they have managed to fill every single nook with books.

Overall: 4.5 out of 5 My favorite bookstore in London so far. I don't like to give 5's, because that's reserved for book heaven, but this is so close.

Their "special" editions of classics. I absolutely love these.

Their "special" editions of classics. I absolutely love these.

I know I really shouldn't be reviewing two Waterstones in a row, but I just love both the Piccadilly and the Charing Cross store and I felt like I had to review them. 

(Ok fine, I just go there all the time, because of the insanely amount of books I buy, but I also really love the stores.)

So first thing first, it's obviously smaller than the Piccadilly store and I guess every book store I'll review from now on will be smaller, so it's not really fair to compare on that basis.

What I do love about it is that it's in a basement! I don't know why, but it feels so nice and secluded from the world. There is no cellphone reception, so no one is blabbing away on their phone. Everyone is just sitting and reading. 

Some books on the tables.

Some books on the tables.

Their classics selection is a very elaborate one, as I expect is the case in all Waterstones. They have all the books you would think of and usually an edition or two.

The thing I love about this store are the table selections. I'm not sure why, but in this particular store they are always just what I'm looking for. Every time I want to buy a book, I buy it off their selection on the tables. Their sections are original, the remarks on the notes funny and inspiring. I'm not sure who makes these selections, but major kudos to them. They make the store.

Lets take the picture below for example: Classic B-Sides. I love the idea of looking at famous authors and deciding which of their works isn't as famous, but should be read by everyone. If I would ever pick a dream job - this would be it.

Love this idea : the not-so-classic work of well-known authors.

Love this idea : the not-so-classic work of well-known authors.

Though cliché as I am, I picked up Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Not exactly a B-side, but a book I wanted to read for a long time.

My favorite section? Ah, the same as always: these amazing beauties.

The most gorgeous books in the world. 

The most gorgeous books in the world. 

Can anyone get sick of looking at these books? Because I stood there for 10 minutes, just loving every single one of them. 

So all I can say about this bookstore is: check it out. It's less big than Waterstones Piccadilly so your choice might be more limited, but it feels a lot more personal and book-ish. Just grab a book, find a comfy chair and sit there for a hour or two. It's so easy to lose track of time in this store.

Bookshop Review: Waterstones Piccadilly - The Classics

The view from the Classics section

The view from the Classics section


Location: 2 out of 5 Does anyone really enjoy the crowd that walks around Piccadilly Circus?

Layout store: 4 out of 5 It's simply too big to have an amazing lay-out, but there are signs everywhere.

Offer: 5 out of 5 Seriously, what book does this store not own?

Overall: 4 out of 5 Definitely one of my favourite bookstores so far.


One of the reasons I wanted to move to London was to experience all the amazing bookstores they have here. There are Waterstones just about everywhere and then there are so many cute little hidden bookstores in forgotten streets that hold the most beautiful old books. Choice enough. So how does a girl decide where to go?

Well in my case, I blog about the bookstores. This gives me not only an overview about which stores I like, it might also help other people coming to London, and as an added bonus, it gives me a great excuse to go bookshopping all the time (“Oh it’s work - I won’t buy anything”) and just visit EVERY book store.

And what’s a better start than the biggest bookstore in Europe? I set out to review the whole store in one post, but realised that with five HUGE floors, it was just too much. I couldn’t even take in all the books I saw, let alone form an opinion about them.

So this post will tackle one of the most important section in each bookstore: the classics. 

Waterstones Piccadilly: Is it really a classic?

Waterstones Piccadilly’s classic section can be found on the first floor, in a huge corner on the right-hand side. Shown below is one side of the corner, where there’s also the possibility to relax and sit down.

The classics - mostly poetry. 

The classics - mostly poetry. 

As you can see, these books are all the poetry classics.

The collection of every single classic.

The collection of every single classic.

While these above are all the fiction classic.

Selection and editions

Lord Byron - not sure if I'll ever get through this. Oh MA, what are you doing to me?!

Lord Byron - not sure if I'll ever get through this. Oh MA, what are you doing to me?!

Literally every author you would classify as “classic” is in there. The best part being is that there are so many editions of each book. There are the Oxford Classics, the Everyman’s Library editions (which are all beautifully stacked together in the two left shelves on the pictures above). I just love seeing the red spines of the Everyman’s Library books. But I needed an Oxford Classic for school, so that's what I bought. 


They also had some really cool (really expensive) special editions of books - such as these Charles Dickens stories. If anyone is interested in prices - I didn’t dare touch these - so I have no clue. They were so pretty and I felt such a major urge to shop for books that I probably would have talked myself into buying these for whatever ridiculous prize I can’t afford anyway!

But the absolute best part of the classics section was that they had the cloth-bound Penguin books. I always wanted one of the classics in that edition and I just couldn’t resist the urge to pick up Wuthering Heights (so watch out for that review soon). 

Isn't this book such a beauty?? I'm in LOVE.

Isn't this book such a beauty?? I'm in LOVE.

So to sum it all up; as was expected, the classic section of the biggest book store in Europe was pretty fantastic. All the authors I looked for in a classics section were there and the amount of editions of each book they had means that readers on every kind of budget can find what they are looking for. There are 8 pound classics (that still look gorgeous) to the expensive looking Charles Dickens editions to the cloth-bound medium prized classic.

P.S. I usually won’t review staff when only talking about a section of a store, but the gentleman who was working the cash-checkout (right next to the Classics) was absolutely wonderful. He suggested some other books for me to try and gave me an extra stamp on my stamp card. He alone was reason enough for me to want to return to this store.