Life Well Traveled: London

Life Well Traveled: London

London and Paris have alway been at the top of my list for travel destinations! There was always something so charming about the idea of London, and Paris is always a good idea! When my husband and I started talking about international travel, we knew that these two destinations would be a dream come true! Just to brag on my sweet husband for a moment - he alway makes my dreams a reality; regardless of how much hard work he will have to do to achieve them. He is my hero and without him my dreams wouldn't be as large or adventurous. Cayle brings out a side of me that I didn't know I had. Whether it's snowmobiling, hiking, cliff jumping, fishing, sailing, traveling to foreign countries, learning new languages or simply giving me the courage to start a blog, he believes in me. He tells me these adventure create memories and monuments to our love and life together! We plan to take as many adventures together as we possibly can! We will alway jump at the opportunity to explore learn and grow together as people! We would like to be as enriched as possible by our travels and we strive to open our minds to new cultures' views and different ways of life. 

   In this blog post I would like to feature some of my favorite moments and outfits from our London trip! I debated sharing our Europe trip on the blog because it was such a precious time for my husband and I. However, I love the idea of this collection of written work and photos existing forever online to be revisited as often as I or my friends and family would like! I hope you enjoy this London recap blog as much as I have enjoyed creating it!  
   Our first day in Europe found us in the fabulous Park Plaza Westminster Hotel! I couldn't help but pinch myself waking up to the sound of London below us and our gorgeous view from the panoramic windows! We sat in bed drinking coffee looking out at Big Ben, the London eye and Westminster Abby all at once! Talk about dreamy! The Park Plaza Hotel was the perfect start to our London stay as it put us directly in the middle of the action! The picturesque scenery from the hotel's atrium was so enchanting! We felt submerged into the hustle and bustle of the city streets immediately! London has always had a certain appeal to me! There has always been a distinct character and charm about London. I adore the tradition and pageantry that surrounds the city. I can't explain how excited I felt hearing Big Ben ring out through the crisp morning air as we found our way to breakfast on our first morning in London. Some of the highlights from our first day in London included High Street shopping, touring the Sherlock Holmes Museum and the Churchill War Museum. My husband loves history and throughly enjoyed the war museum, while the Sherlock Holmes museum was more of my cup of tea! I have been slightly obsessed with Sherlock since watching the BBC series. Oh Benedict Comberbatch so dreamy...where was I? Haha!

  To simply say the shopping in London is amazing would be an epic understatement. The truth is the shopping in London transcends the reaches of your mind, stamina and pocketbook! We walked around Top Shop for at least 2 hours! I bought the most amazing top that I am sure will be featured on the blog soon enough. Later in our trip we would make our way to the "mecca" of all shopping experiences, Harrods! More on that later! 
  For our second day in London we made our way to our Airbnb apartment in the City of London area where we would call home for the remainder of our stay. Our apartment was a two minute walk from St. Paul's Cathedral and surrounded by local shops restaurants and pubs. My husband and I absolutely adore Airbnb! We have been very fortunate to always have great experiences with the company. Our Airbnb apartment in London was amazing! Each morning we would head out our front door and go straight to the local coffee shop down the sidewalk. We would chat with the shop girls while sipping delicious coffee and eating scones. This street quickly felt like home and captured my heart in a very special way. For me a major part of London's charm is the weather! I simply adore chilly weather and London has an abundance of it, as well as rain and fog! I have always loved dreary cold weather and connected it to so many fond memories. London has established itself firmly in my mind as having "my kind of weather"! 

Could this be more beautiful?! 

   With St. Paul's Cathedral being just steps from our apartment we made our way there on our first morning in that part of town. We passed busy Londoners rushing off to work, ducking into the underground or jumping on iconic red buses. The chatter of their English accents filled the air and the streets were alive and vibrant in a way uniquely British. As we approached the cathedral we were overwhelmed by the enormity of its size and grandeur. I can't fully explain the reverence that came over us as we entered the cathedral except to say I was moved to tears twice by its beauty. My husband and I made our way around the cathedral admiring each detail of Christopher Wren's masterpiece and eventually made our way up a long staircase to the Whispering Gallery. I am deathly afraid of heights so this was as high as I went but my husband made his way to the very top deck which boast an amazing outdoor panoramic view of the city! Spoiler alert- St. Pauls' was by far our favorite cathedral we visited in both London and Paris.

  After leaving the sanctuary we found our way into the gardens surrounding the gorgeous cathedral! I wish I could bottle the fragrance we experienced. There was a heavenly mixture of roses, lilac and greenery romantically filling the air as we walked the gardens being warmed by the sunshine! Londoners love there infrequent sunshine. It seemed that everyone in the city found their way into a green space and set up camp in the warmth of the sun. There were sweet old men smoking pipes and reading their papers on the park benches, while business women kicked off their heels and strolled through the streets in their sneakers! We followed suit and found a place to relax for a moment outside of the cathedral's grounds. We sat shoulder to shoulder with local Londoners simply appreciating the sunshine in the middle of our busy day.

On this same day we also visited Westminster Abby and learned about the historic royal weddings and final resting place of many historical figures. We took breaks in between site seeing destinations to indulge in delicious local pub food. You can not go to London and not try fish and chips! Our afternoon found us in the one and only Harrods! We strolled for an hour through floor after floor of high end luxury goods and cosmetics! My husband is such a good sport! I played with cosmetics and fragrances and eventually chose a gorgeous new YSL lipstick to add to my collection! We eventually found our way up to the Harrod's Tea room for a traditional afternoon tea! We sipped vanilla tea and indulged in sweet and savory treats while sitting on a pink leather lounge chair. I could not have felt more British then I did in that moment! After eating scones clotted cream cheese and jam to our heart's content, we followed our afternoon tea with one last stroll through the food section of Harrods. We walked through room after room of cheese, bread, wine, chocolate, and meat. We eventually chose some breads and chocolates and headed to Hyde Park. We rode bikes down the busy park sidewalk until we found the perfect park bench by the waters edge. We sat and talked and watched the ducks and people go by while eating our treats from Harrods. This was one of my favorite moments in London. Simply enjoying a normal moment with my husband in an amazing location. 

This photo was taken right after biking though Hyde Park! We sat on a park bench eating truffles from Harrods while watching the ducks swim. These personal photos mean so much to me. They capture a feeling an emotion and a memory. 

  On our third and fourth day in London my love for the city grew even more as we met more locals and ventured even deeper into London's charming neighborhoods. I feel I should also mention how much we loved the Underground! My husband and I made our way around London with ease and without worry thanks to London's well thought out Underground and double decker buses! We also used London's iconic black cabs, but that was more for my whimsical benefit then necessity. I can still hear the announcer on the underground saying "mind the gap"! I internally giggled with excitement each time I heard it. It's just so British! We started our day off at the Tower of London! This was at the top of my list because the tower is home to the Queen's Jewels! As we strolled past the massive collection of gold, rubies, sapphires and diamonds the size of my fist, I was in awe! This was the highlight of my Tower of London experience although I believe my husband would beg to differ. We walked for an hour around the White Castle viewing armor from centuries gone by and learned of the historical figures that owned and wore each piece. It was truly an experience and some of the armor was quite beautiful in its own way! Directly outside the Tower of London we got an amazing view of the Tower Bridge! This iconic image affirmed even further how truly beautiful London is. The city is bursting at the seams with history!

  After the Tower of London we headed to Shoredich and found ourselves in the middle of a street market selling everything from art to food. We stopped by Boxpark and got a feel for the trendy pop up mall featuring up and coming designers! We eventually made our way to a little cafe in the area for a late lunch before heading back to the underground. Kings Cross Station was a must see for us! My husband and I are Harry Potter fans so this was a must! Speaking of Harry Potter, our one London disappointment was not being able to go to Warner Brother's Studio in London to do the Harry Potter Tour. We had planned to go on our last day in London but it was totally sold out. We were both bummed but the show must go on. 

  Our last day in London started with a stroll to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the Guards! We were able to get a great spot to see the ceremony! We watched the parade of red and black clad guards coming down the street and into the palace gates performing an array of ceremonial task. The palace gates alone were worth the wait. They were dripping with ornate gold insignia boasting the gorgeous crest of arms.

  Once we had our fill of that we walked through the gorgeous Palace Gardens stopping to take some photos and eventually finding  ourselves back on the underground heading to Notting Hill! Notting Hill totally stole my heart and was without a doubt my favorite area of London! When the time comes to visit London again I would love to stay in this area! We had the most wonderful conversations with locals as we strolled antique shops and stopped for a pub lunch! There was something so charming about the pastel painted neighborhoods and local londoners walking their dogs and shopping at the street markets. We sat for an hour chatting with a shop owner about the area and how much she loved Great Brittin and the Queen. I picked up the most beautiful teapot and teacup at this shop. It was the perfect souvenir to remember our time in dreary Ole London! 

  London holds such a special place in my heart. It was the first european country that my husband and i visited and by far my favorite so far.  There is something magical that exist in it's culture, people, and traditions. I will make every effort to return to London as soon as I can! I adore the idea of spending a Christmas holiday there. I can't think of a better way to celebrate my favorite time of year then being in my new favorite city! 

  Thank you so much for stopping by the blog! Going through all of these photos has made me long to be back in London! For now i can escape to my own little piece of London each time I brew a pot of tea in my teapot and scroll through these pictures. I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of the highlights of our trip. Please feel free to leave comments below as I would love to chat with y'all! Don't forget to subscribe if you haven't already and stay tuned for a second Europe post to come very soon! Have a great week!