The past two weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. I packed up everything I own in a 10×10 cube, hauled two giant suitcases through the mouse-ear clad families at MCO and moved across the pond to become a temporary tourist myself. Well, nomad sounds a little more culturally sound. I expected to feel a bit out of sorts upon my arrival in Will & Kate’s territory, though strangely enough it just felt like home.
To give you a little background, I spent 3 months studying in Italy back in 2015. Nine countries, 100 plates of pasta and a gillion cappuccinos later, I had this deep feeling this wouldn’t be my last stint abroad. Call it God, fate, or just good fortune but I have the opportunity to spend the second half of 2017 exploring all the places I missed the first time around. And revisiting some oldies of course! You’ll be seeing a lot of my friend, Alexis who has a blog of her own. And if you don’t follow her yet, go go go! An unofficial model, she will give you major travel goals. (Stay tuned for a post on her July wedding at a stoic UK Estate complete with climbing ivy)!
So let’s get to it shall we? I’ve spent my first couple weekends getting better acquainted with bustling London + the charming towns surrounding it. If you know me, you know I place food on a pedestal. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that my first order of business was visiting Granger & Co for weekend brunch! An Aussie treasure nestled characteristically in Notting Hill, this little cafe is fresh, intimate and absolutely thriving with locals and visitors alike. I’ve never not seen a line out the door, but in a way the 2 hour wait is part of its charm. And if you’re in it for the long haul, go for the full aussie. This breakfast converted me into a mushroom connoisseur!
We spent the rest of the day popping into the narrow alleyways and mews of Chelsea in a never-ending search for wisteria. Only out for 2 weeks of the year, we weren’t about to throw away our shot. (Hamilton reference 1 of 1776). We stumbled upon absolute gold with this classic white townhouse boasting a poppy pink door. Wisteria extended from the facade to the gate to create this lavender canopy of cascading blooms. Simply breathtaking!
My favorite thing to do in London is just wander. Of course you should see all the big attractions like Westminster Abbey, Portobello Road, Big Ben (and maybe even the Parent Trap house). But it’s the small shops and local finds that give this city its character. Just strolling without agenda, we came upon a delightful frame shop with open-faced frames stacked so high there was barely room for exploration. Luckily, I found a 19th c frame sporting a sleek ornamentation pattern across its borders. The shopkeeper explained this pattern was named after Marie Antoinette’s interior designer! I could have stayed there all day to hear stories about each of these frames.
After strolling through Regent Street, we decided to meet up with a friend in China Town for some late night grub. China Town neighbors West End, so if you plan to go, just be prepared to battle hundreds of musical-goers for a spot at a table. A quick turnaround seems to be the ultimate goal here, so the dining experience is more about refilling than relaxing. Absolutely delicious though! Afterwards, we walked into a nearby pub for a few rounds of Guinness – when in London, right?
Though my feet might argue with you, it was a pretty perfect day! The following afternoon was much lazier, with a visit to Windsor for some afternoon tea with Ben (Alexis’ fiance) and his family. It was a beautiful day marked with good conversation, good people and really good tea.
And with that I bid you adieu for now!