2015 :: Year In Review

Cheers to another year! 2015 was quite a busy and successful year for us. From travel adventures to new ventures, we kept busy most days of the year. At the end of the year, I always love looking back and seeing what exciting things we did the past year. Here are some of the highlights of 2015 for us.

I kicked off the New Year by opening my own Etsy shop! It’s been a labor of love to be able to share my creativity and make such fun and adorable items. While it takes up a lot of my time these days, I couldn’t be happier having a hobby that I really love.

BeeRich Design

In Fitness, the hubs and I both ran Trek up the Tower for the second year in February and I ran my 7th half marathon.

Lincoln Half Marathon 2015

In travel, we headed to Vegas in July and in February we took a mini winter getaway to Palm Springs for some sun and golfing. I also traveled down to Kansas City a couple of times to attend my first blog conference and workshop. What an inspiring experience that was to be able to be around other ladies who are just as passionate about building their own dreams and being a #girlboss.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs

Hubs and I had our second wedding anniversary and to celebrate, we headed to London and Paris. Afternoon tea, a photo shoot in front of the Eiffel Tower and the French Open were just a few of the highlights. I love having a husband who loves to travel as much as I do.

Paris Photo Shoot

 

 

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I also spent much of the summer and fall dedicated to my Junior League committee. I was on a team that puts together one of our fundraisers and I spent many nights working away on our silent auction. On top of that, husband and I also were producers for a local pageant. If you didn’t know, the Mr. and I met through pageants so we have a big spot in our heart for them and we love being able to spend time together doing something that we love.

And when we weren’t busy working, we tried to make some time for fun including our monthly date nights to a musical and weekend dates on the golf course.

So that brings us to the new year! As a belated holiday present to ourselves and wanting some much needed rest and relaxation, we’re kicking off 2016 by heading to Cabo San Lucas  for the week. We went there 2 years ago for our honeymoon and it seemed like the perfect winter getaway for us.

Cheers to 2016!

Paris :: Day 3

Monday was our last day of vacation. While we had a really exciting day ahead that we both were pee our pants excited about, but we were equally as excited to get back to the states to see our furbabies.

Paris :: Day 3

Bright and early that morning, we met a local photographer at the Trocardero for a photo shoot. The day before we left on vacation, one of our friends posted their photo shoot from the photographer online and I knew we had to get this done. I’m so glad that she had an opening so we could have photos to document our travels and our 2 year wedding anniversary together.

Paris Photo Shoot

Paris Photo Shoot

Paris Photo Shoot

Paris Photo Shoot Paris Photo Shoot

We walked all around the Trocadero fountains, the Eiffel Tower and a beautiful bridge for photos. I can’t even tell you how much I cherish these photos. I’ve always loved having my photo taken and I’m glad that I have a husband whose a photographer and appreciates photos as much as I do. I think they’re so pretty!

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Paris Photo Shoot

Paris Photo Shoot

Our last activity for vacation was one we both had been pretty excited about for weeks leading up to it. We had tickets to the French Open! I don’t really follow tennis but having the opportunity to see some of the world’s best tennis players play at one of the ultimate tennis competitions was a chance we couldn’t pass up.

Paris :: Day 3

Paris :: Day 3

It was the fourth round of play so we saw 4 different matches, 2 men’s and 2 women’s. We first say Maria Sharapova play which she lost her match to another Russian player. Next up was Roger Federer and wow, what an athlete that guy is. The third match was what I had been waiting for and it was Serena Williams vs fellow American Sloane Stephens. Serena is such a powerful player and she ended up winning that round as well as the French Open all together. She blew me out of the water when after she won her round, the emcee interviewed her and she answered all in French. The last round we got to see was Dojovic.

Paris :: Day 3

Paris :: Day 3

Paris :: Day 3

Paris :: Day 3

Going to the French Open was a really amazing experience and once we got home, I couldn’t stop checking for updates to who won each day. I think I’m officially a tennis fan!

Paris :: Day 3

Paris :: Day 3

To round out our trip, we took a quick walk over to see the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame Cathedral. While we didn’t get to go inside of Notre Dome, the outside of it is just incredible to see! The craftsmanship and details on the wood is nothing like anything I have ever seen before. When I was a kid, I used to go to Notre Dame University every July for baton nationals so getting to see the real Notre Dame in person was quite a treat for me.

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Paris :: Day 3

And so that was our whirlwind trip to Europe! We had a great time exploring even more or Europe and it was a fabulous way to celebrate 2 years of being married!

Paris :: Day 3

Paris Day 2

For our second day in Paris, we had plans to head out to Versailles for the morning to walk around the castle and the gardens outside. We ended up sleeping in that morning since we had some major jetlag so we had a bit of a slow morning to start out with. A word of advice, if you’re going to Versailles for the day, get there early! Like I mentioned before, the trains are not as frequent as in London so we waited at least 30 minutes before our train came. Once we got to Versailles, we waited over an hour, in the cold, wet rain, to get inside. While it wasn’t ideal, this was the first long wait we had on vacation so it could have been worse.

Paris :: Day 2

Paris :: Day 2

Paris :: Day 2

Once we were inside, walked all through the castle. We opted to not do an audio tour and instead read about the highlights in a Paris travel book I had with us. The castle is absolutely massive and it was really interesting to see all of the art, tapestries and bedrooms where the Queen and King slept. After the castle, we wanted to walk all through the gardens because they looked absolutely beautiful. But it was 50 degrees, rainy and cold out and neither of us were in the mood to get anymore wet than we currently were.

Paris :: Day 2

Paris :: Day 2

Paris :: Day 2

Paris :: Day 2

Once we got back to Paris, we had lunch and then headed over to the Louvre. Just like other Paris attractions, the Louvre is super big! Our first stop was, of course, the Mona Lisa. I was really surprised by how small the photo was. I hate to admit it, but I wasn’t that impressed with it! I thought it would look much cooler in person, but honestly it doesn’t. I was more impressed with a painting of dogs next to it.

Paris :: Day 2

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Paris :: Day 2

Paris :: Day 2

Paris :: Day 2

There’s a lot of other incredible paintings in the museum including this soldier on a horse and tons of well-known sculptures. I’m always amazed at how detail-oriented these artists were when they were sculpting these statues. They seriously had some talent!

Paris :: Day 2

Paris :: Day 2

 

After being cultured for the day, the Mr. and I took ourselves on a self-guided macaron tour. This was clearly one of the highlights of the trip given our macaron obsession. I found 6 of the best macaron shops in the city and we went to each one, purchased a handful of macarons and had a best of macaron tasting contest when we got back to our hotel that night. I’ll have a full report on a separate blog post next week about it. Let’s just say this, we learned the difference between good and bad macarons but honestly, they’re all pretty good!

Paris :: Day 2

 

Paris :: Day 2

That night we ended with diner al fresco at a local café. A word to the wise, if you’re traveling to Paris, a lot of restaurants are closed on either Sunday or Monday (or both), so our options were limited. But we did find a great place not too far from where we were staying and we got to dine on French Onion Soup in France. I mean how authentic is that?

Paris :: Day 2

Paris Day 1

On the Saturday of our vacation week, we hopped on a Eurostar train and headed off to Paris. The train was a quick and smooth ride and was a really easy way to get to London from Paris.

Paris :: Day 1

 

Paris :: Day 1

Once we got to Paris, we headed off to the AirBNB we rented for the few days we were there. We’ve never done AirBNB before but we decided to try it out since most of the hotels were in the $900+ range. We had a 1 bedroom apartment that we got for only $150/night which we thought was a pretty good steal. While it was fine for us to sleep in, we wouldn’t do it again. After staying in an AirBNB with a not so great bed, we decided that we both prefer staying in hotels because we know exactly what we’re getting when we stay there.

Paris :: Day 1

Paris :: Day 1

 

Paris :: Day 1

Our first afternoon activity was going to a macaron class. We both love macarons and couldn’t wait to learn how to make them on our own. It was a 2 hour class at La Cuisine Paris and we had a French pastry chef teach us the tedious process of how to make the perfect macaron. Once you make a macaron, it has to sit in a refrigerator for at least 48 hours before you can eat them. The cold helps to soften the shell. After spending so many tiny steps making, measuring and pouring macarons, it killed me to have to wait to eat them! Luckily when we left on Tuesday they were in perfect macaron form and we ate all 20 macarons on the flight home. I’m proud to say they were among the BEST macarons we’ve ever had. The husband and I plan on making them at home when we have a full afternoon free to bake them. I’m sure they won’t taste as good since we had the help of a chef but it doesn’t hurt to try!

Paris :: Day 1

 

Paris :: Day 1

Paris :: Day 1

 

Paris :: Day 1

 

Paris :: Day 1

The rest of the day we just wandered around Paris. We had bought subway tickets to use but we quickly realized that getting around on the subway was not as easy as it was in London. It takes a transfer or two to get to your destination. I thought it was a bright idea to walk all the way to the Eiffel Tower. It looks so close to you but it ends up being way farther than you’d like. While it took us a solid 2+ hours to walk there, we stopped a lot along th way to enjoy the sites, the parks and take lots of photos.

Paris :: Day 1

 

Paris :: Day 1

 

Paris :: Day 1

 

Paris :: Day 1

 

Paris :: Day 1

For dinner that night, we dined in true Parisian style and found a creperie to eat at. I’m still dreaming of the pizza crepe we had. It was so delicious!

 

 

What We Ate In London

My husband and I are foodies and we love to try new restaurants for dinner. Whenever we travel, we make it a goal to try the best food that we can there. Before we go out of town, I’ll check Tripadvisor for the top rated restaurants and I’ll also search Pinterest for blogs and articles on where the best eats in the city are. Since everyone has different tastes, it can be hard to tell which restaurants you will like and which ones you won’t. If you’re planning a trip to London, I’d share with you the places we ate at in London and maybe give you some ideas on where to dine when you head there on vacation.

The Berkeley London – Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Fashion Tea

One thing that was an absolute must do while in London was going to an afternoon tea. One of my besties told me about the fashion tea that’s at The Berkley Hotel. It’s 2 hours long and you receive a savory and a sweets course. The savory was finger sandwiches and other small bites to eat. The sweets was different cookies, cakes and parfaits that were all inspired and modeled after the latest fashion trends. Cakes that looks like handbags, parfaits with the colors of designer dresses and cookies that looked like shoes. We really enjoyed the loose-leaf tea and the sandwiches were super delicious. All of the sweets were so so so good and since we were completely full by that point, we got purse-like boxes to take the rest home with us. I know there are tons of afternoon teas to choose from but I highly recommend this one!

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Skinner’s Arms

Another must eat for us was finding some good fish and chips while in town. On our first night there, we were absolutely exhausted and didn’t want to go too far for dinner but we found this pub on Tripadvisor and it was a short walk from our hotel. I think this place was the quintessential pub atmosphere with wood as the decor and lots of locals having a pint to drink. The Wisconsin girl in me had to order fish and chips and the husband got chicken mushroom pie. Neither were the best thing we’ve ever eaten but since both were local delicacies, we had to try it. I highly recumbent finding a pub on Tripadvisor for you to go to while in London. One thing out waiter warned us about was that the true local pubs won’t have a beer brand on their name outside (i.e. Guiness)

What We Ate In London

Fortnum & Mason

Prior to going on vacation, I searched all over the internet to find out where we could get macarons to eat while there. My husband and I fell in love with macarons on a trip to St. Maarten and ever since then we always try to find some wherever we travel to. Fortnum and Mason is a local department store that has the biggest food hall/chocolates/pastries floor ever! My eyes were so big once I saw all of the macaron goodness there! We got several flavors to take back with us to our hotel including blood orange, salted caramel, red velvet, brownie, watermelon, mixed berries and white champagne. Our favorite flavor was salted caramel but white champagne, red velvet and watermelon were all really good too!

What We Ate In London

Tortellini Cup

We were really looking forward to trying this place out because it was rated #1 when we looked on Tripadvisor (ratings change each day on there based on reviews). I know, going all the way to London and eating Italian food just didn’t seem like the right thing to do, but hey it was highly rated out of 17,000+ restaurants so why not! We ventured out to find it one afternoon and little did we know it’s a small kiosk inside of a mall. That didn’t take away from how good it was though. It’s basically a build your own pasta with the sauce and add-ins that you’d like. It was fresh pasta and tasted almost exactly like what we ate while in Italy.

What We Ate In London What We Ate In London What We Ate In London

Andy’s Taverna 

After already eating fish and chips, we were at a loss for what other local food we should try out. Since we came up short, we decided to stick with what friends had told us and that is that the ethnic dining scene in London is really good so try to eat other foods such as Spanish, Chinese etc. Since I’ve recently taken a liking to Greek food, we decided to try out #38 rated Andy’s Taverna. It was a small restaurant that was a few tube stops from our hotel. We started out with saganaki (fried cheese) which was ok. I’ve had better to eat before. When our meals came there was so much food! I ordered lamb and chicken kabobs and the husband had baked lamb. I had 3 skewers full of meat and I wish I had more room in my stomach to finish them because I loved them!

What We Ate In London What We Ate In London

Ben’s Cookies

Since the sun doesn’t set in London until nearly 9:30pm and we think that no meal is complete without dessert, we set out to find some. We noticed that Ben’s Cookies was rated in the top on Tripadvisor and we were seeing them all over town so we decided to get some cookies to complete the night. I’m not sure why this was rated so high because it wasn’t that good of a cookie for me. It satisfied my sweet tooth but not the best I’ve ever had.

What We Ate In London

Borough Market

I’m still dreaming of all the delicious smells at the Borough Market. It’s basically the world’s best farmer’s market. There are TONS and TONS of local vendors and restaurants there with everything from meat to cheese to ice cream. We picked up some really good pepper cashews and cinnamon nuts to eat while we walked around. We decided to turn our little walk into lunch and we picked up a cheese pretzel, peppered foccacia bread and, of course, we found macarons and cookies the size of our heads to eat later on. Those macarons and cookies were some of the BEST ever. I wish I could remember the name of the vendor so I could order myself some!

What We Ate In London What We Ate In London What We Ate In London What We Ate In London What We Ate In London

Gordon’s Wine Bar

After a long day of walking around, we wanted to relax, unwind and enjoy happy hour. Gordon’s Wine Bar was a recommendation from our Small Car, Big City tour guide. We tried to come here the day before, but it was completely packed with locals enjoying happy hour after work so we came back earlier the next night to get a table. It’s a long patio next to a beautiful park that’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the streets. For 2 hours, we just sat, enjoyed a bottle of wine and a cheese plate and talked and people watched.

Selfridge’s

We heard that Selfridge’s has the world’s most extensive collection of chocolate bars in their food hall so we went to check it out. I wasn’t in the mood for chocolate after I saw a macaron stand in there. L’Amandier has a selection of macarons to choose from so we picked up 3. I don’t remember the flavors we got and while they were macarons to eat and I liked them, they didn’t compare to the ones we picked up at the market earlier in the day.

Etna Coffee

We wanted a quick snack on our last afternoon there so we could get out of the cold, rain for awhile and came across this small coffee shop near Buckingham Palace. Once we saw on Tripadvisor that they have arancini, we were sold. While we were in Italy last fall, we discovered arancini and it is amazing. It’s risotto with cheese and whatever else you want in it like pesto, vegetables or marinara sauce and then it’s fried. We had a spinach and cheese and also an eggplant and cheese arancini. I know they don’t look really good but you have to try them to understand how good they can be. They didn’t compare to the ones we had in Italy but they hit the spot for a quick snack.

What We Ate In London

BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

I found this tour a few weeks before we left and I thought it would be a fun way to see London. We drove around in a vintage double decker bus and got to see all of the major tourist attractions while enjoying tea. This was on the last day of our trip so by this point we had seen mostly everything in town. There isn’t much of a “tour” aspect to this since the waitresses on board don’t tell much about what you’re driving past and you don’t make any stops on the tour. The food was ok. I enjoyed most of the sandwiches including a turkey sandwich, cucumber one and a salmon one. Most of the desserts had a filling in them which neither myself or husband are fans of. But at least there was a macaron to finish it off! If you’re looking for a fun way to drive past the sites in town, then I recommend doing this tour. I think it’d be a fun thing to do with girlfriends.

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Vinoteca

Since we had success the day before at Gordon’s, we wanted to find another wine bar to relax at again the next night. Vinoteca was a choice my husband stumbled across so we went there to enjoy some appetizers and a bottle of wine. Since I loved the cheese plate the night before, we ordered another one here. They also had arancini as a night special so we, of course, ordered a plate.  I can’t remember much about the cheese plate or the arancini so that tells me that I must not have liked them. Either way, it was a nice little spot to enjoy some down time.

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Patty & Bun

After Vinoteca we were still a little bit hungry and I was craving good burger. Husband came to the rescue again when he found Patty & Bun. They have 2 locations and we went to the one on James Street. It’s super small with seating for only about 2 dozen people. We had to wait outside and were told it was a 45 minute wait. Luckily you can get a table faster as a party of 2 so we only waited about 15 minutes. Since it was 9:30 pm, neither of us wanted to eat an entire burger by ourselves so we split a Lambshank burger and an order of fries. The burger was the best one that I have ever had! I wish that I could recreate it and eat it all the time! Highly recumbent finding one of its locations and grabbing a bite to eat.

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The Booking Office – Renaissance St. Pancras

Every morning we opted to eat breakfast at our hotel since it was included as a part of the hotel rewards program we belong to. I love eating breakfast out but I wasn’t in the mood to try to find a new bakery or restaurant every morning to eat at because, to me, pretty much all breakfast food is the same and you really can’t mess it up. It was a really nice buffet that had lots to choose from. Each morning my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I always took more than I could eat. I love how European breakfasts have a cheese and meat selection with it. Cheese is one of my favorite food groups in Europe because it’s so fresh there! I also loved eating english muffins every morning. They’re not as a crumbly like they are in the US. And, no morning was complete without hot tea. I always drink green tea in the morning but I had English Breakfast tea each day and I really liked it.What We Ate In London What We Ate In London

What We Ate In London

 

So there’s all the places we ate! I’m really hungry now just remembering all the places we ate. My best advice when eating while traveling is to turn to Tripadvisor. Read the reviews, look at the pictures and the menu before going to see if it’s what you’d like. We’ve never really eaten anywhere super bad on vacation and I think it’s through the help of Tripadvisor that we’ve been able to know what we’re eating and if we’ll like it before we get there.

QUESTION // What’s the best food you’ve ever had on vacation?

London :: Day 4

A foggy day in London town….You’ve heard Michael Buble sing this song, right? Well, this song perfectly described the weather on our last day in London. Cold, foggy and downright dreary. Despite having some yucky weather, we didn’t let that get our spirits down on our last day of exploring the city.

London :: Day 4

Per usual, we hopped on the tube along with the locals and headed down to Hyde Park. I wish the weather had cooperated a little bit better because I would have loved to explore more of it. From what we saw though, it was beautiful with tons of trees and green space. It reminded me a lot of Central Park.

London :: Day 4

We had tickets to go into Kensington Palace and I was so excited to see it. I’ve always loved Princess Diana and I just love Prince William and Princess Kate so it was neat to see the place that they call home. Seeing the Queen and King’s apartments and knowing that tons of royalty have lived in this very space was interesting. All of the paintings, sculptures and woodwork in there are absolutely stunning and after how many years they’ve been there that’s pretty amazing what tip top shape they’re in!

London :: Day 4

London :: Day 4

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At Kensington Palace, there was also an exhibit featuring the Queen’s fashion through the years. Since I have a passion for fashion, I loved getting to see some of the dresses and suits worn throughout the years. I particularly loved the dresses of Princess Diana that were showcased. I noticed many of her dresses from photos that I’ve seen of her and loved getting to see them up close.

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After a cold, wet morning walking around Hyde Park, we headed over to Buckingham Palace to get a quick look of it. I was in awe of how huge it was and can only imagine the crowds that waited outside after Prince William and Princess Kate got married and made their first appearance on that famous balcony. I wish we could have gone on a tour of it, but it’s only open for tours one month out of the year in July. The flag was flying high which meant the Queen was in. I was secretly hoping I could catch a glimpse of her in a window but I’m sure the Queen has better things to do than people watch a bunch of tourists outside her castle.

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London :: Day 4

London :: Day 4

Since it was such a cold and rainy day, I was really looking forward to our afternoon tea that day! We went on an afternoon tea bus tour that took you all around the city for an hour and a half. We rode in a vintage double decker bus and had finger sandwiches, pastries and tea of course. Since it was our last day in London, at that point we had already seen most of the major sites they took us past. While this wasn’t the best tour we’ve ever been on, it was nice for us to relax our tired feet and dry off from the rain.

London :: Day 4

London :: Day 4London :: Day 4Since we had seen most of what we wanted to see in the city center of London, we decided to venture a little bit outside of the city and visit the 2012 Olympic Park. There’s a huge shopping center and multiple hotels when you first get off at the train station. It connects directly to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which is absolutely massive! We only walked around a tiny bit of it before heading back but I can only imagine how many people were there and what the energy was like during the Olympics. I officially decided that I’m adding going to the Olympics one day to my travel wish list. Seeing all of these stadiums in person was pretty cool and I would love to get to see some of the best athletes in the world compete.

London :: Day 4

London :: Day 4 London :: Day 4And to end our busy day, we wined down at a local wine bar and then headed out for burgers to end our night in London. I have a whole post planned for all of the great food we ate while we were there so that will be coming your way in a few weeks!

We had a great time in London but we still had a few days left of vacation after this. The next 3 days we spent in Paris and we did some pretty awesome things while we were there too!

London :: Day 3

I have to admit, by the time day 3 of our vaycay rolled around, I was pretty tired. Jetlag was really kicking both my husband and I big time this trip. While we love going on vacation to new destinations, I’ve realized there are 2 types of trips : relaxing ones and educational ones. We call our trips to Europe educational because we’re on our feet all day long visiting sites and trying to soak up as much in as we can in a short amount of time. Relaxing ones are when we travel to Mexico, Caribbean or another warm destination and the only thing on our to-do list is to lay in the sun. During this trip we walked 10-13 miles each day and pair that with the 6 hour time difference which means we were tired all the time! No complaints though. I feel pretty lucky that my husband and I are able to travel the world right now.

London :: Day 3

London :: Day 3

I digress though. Thursday was our 3rd day in London and we had a full day ahead of us! We headed down to St. Paul’s Cathedral bright and early. My husband and I have both developed an appreciation and fascination with the architecture and history in cathedrals in Europe. St. Paul’s is stunning inside with some of the most beautiful stained glass. This cathedral is actually where Princess Diana and Prince Charles married back in the 80s. It’s a massive church with a poetry area, a crypt in the basement with tons of tombs and the whispering wall.

London :: Day 3

 

London :: Day 3The cathedral also has a whispering gallery which is 500 steps up in the dome of the cathedral. Two people can stand on opposite sides of the dome and if you lean in far enough and whisper something, the person on the other side can see. Pretty cool if you ask me!

London :: Day 3

London :: Day 3

We also decided to take the steps all the way up to the top. The stairs to get up to it are teeny, tiny and are open stairs so you can see all the way down. Enter my fear of heights and I was completely panicking as we walked up to the top. Once we got up there though, it was a beautiful (and windy) view of the entire city.

London :: Day 3

 

London :: Day 3Afterwards we headed over to the Borough Market to walk around and get something to eat. The market is basically the best farmer’s market you can ever imagine. Cheese, bread, sandwiches, gelato-you name it, they have it here and it all smells so good!

London :: Day 3

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London :: Day 3

In the afternoon we headed over to the Tower of London for a tour with a beefeater. The beefeaters actually live in the tower with their families and they’re the protectors of the Queen. It was really neat to see and hear the story of the tower and view canons and armors up close. The Queen’s crown jewels are also kept here and boy are they stunning! One of her scepters has a 400 carat diamond in it. Talk about sparkle and shine!

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London :: Day 3

To wind down from a long day of walking, we headed to a cute little wine bar where we had a cheese plate which have become my new obsession. We loved people watching here.

London :: Day 3

London :: Day 3

Later in the evening, we headed over to Harrod’s because a girl needs to shop! I was actually really overwhelmed with how huge the store is! If you want something, they have it there. Every designer is there and they have the most amazing food hall. We also made a quick stop at Selfridge’s on the way back to our hotel because they had a macaron counter we wanted to try. If I could go back to London, I would just want to shop all day long in these stores because there’s so much to see, and try on.

London :: Day 3

London :: Day 2

After being awake for 36+ hours from traveling and exploring our first day in London, we were more than excited to snuggle in bed and get some sleep. We had a busy second day exploring ahead of us!

London :: Day 2

 

First up on the agenda was Westminster Abbey. We hopped on the tube bright and early with the other commuters. The tube was such a fast and convenient way to get around. A train came every 90 seconds. Although it would be packed with locals each morning and was a bit hot on there, we were never on a train for more than 10-15 minutes. It made getting around town so easy!

London :: Day 2

However, our day took a slight detour and we had the most unexpected and exciting event ever. When we got off our train and came up the stairs, we were immediately greeted with tons of metal gates and police blocking off the streets. As we walked across the street to get to Westminster Abbey, we didn’t think much of it. We thought that since Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster were all on the same street corner that this was a normal occurrence.

London :: Day 2

Soon after we saw a procession of black cars each with a different country’s flag on the front. After some google searching we found out that Parliament was opening that day. No big deal, right? Oh contrary my friend. As we were making our way over to Westminster, we asked a House of Parliament worker what exactly was going on and she told us the queen was going to be opening Parliament that day and she’d be coming down the street in about an hour. SAY WHAT!? On the few days we were in London, we might actually get to see the Queen!

London :: Day 2

 

London :: Day 2

 

London :: Day 2

The princess in me was pretty darn excited. Since there was still time before the Queen made her arrival, we quickly buzzed through Westminster Abbey. We literally ran through the entire cathedral in under 30 minutes because I was too darn excited to see the Queen. Westminster Abbey is stunning. I loved seeing it in person after getting up at the wee hours of the morning to watch William and Kate get married in it. Ever since we went to Italy, I’ve become infatuated with European Cathedrals. The intriquite woodwork, beautiful stain glass windows and history of those who have been there before just fascinates me.

London :: Day 2

After that we headed outside to try and spot the Queen. The police told us that they didn’t know which way she would be coming so we just kept a look in all directions. Pretty soon tons of horses and carriages started making their way down the street. It was such a sight to see! It really was a grand event! The Queen even was sporting her tiara which I about died after seeing on her head. We also spotted Princess Anne, her daughter which I never knew she had. Prince Charles and Camilla were apparently behind the Queen in a separate carriage but I was too carried away watching the Queen to even notice. We’re still pretty excited that we got to see the Queen in all her glory while we were there. A few local people told us they’ve been there for years and have never even seen her!

London :: Day 2

London :: Day 2

 

London :: Day 2

London :: Day 2

So after all of that morning excitement, we headed over to the Churchill War Museum. It’s an underground war bunker that Churchill used to use. While I’m not a huge history buff, it was neat to learn about what happened down there and see items from that time.

Photo May 27, 11 52 13 AM

To round out our day, and give our feet a rest (we walked 10+ miles everyday!), we went on a tour via mini cooper with Small Car, Big City. We had someone drive us around for 2 hours and she showed us some of the best sites around town.

London :: Day 2

 

London :: Day 2

 

London :: Day 2

 

London :: Day 2

 

London :: Day 2

And so that ends a busy day 2 in London. We had tired feet (again) at the end of the day and were looking forward to exploring more on day 3!

London :: Day 1

Hello and long time no talk! It’s been a busy few days since we just got back from vacation last week which means it’s time to recap all of the fun we had over in Europe! I’m going to break down our vacation day by day so here we go with Day 1 in London!

London :: Day 1

Our flight left on Memorial Day and we flew overnight to London. I tried really hard to get some sleep on the plane but no luck for me which meant I had to push through a few sleepy walls I hit throughout the day on Tuesday. We landed at 10:45 am which meant we still had all day to play and explore. I was mesmerized by the size of the city as we flew over London. It is absolutely HUGE which seemed a little daunting but we found it was super easy to get around via the Underground Tube.

London :: Day 1

London :: Day 1

We stayed at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel which is connected to the international train station. It’s a really nice hotel and since it was also next to the Underground Tube station, it made getting around London super easy. After checking into our hotel and changing into some fresh clothes, we were off to explore the city. Tuesday May 26th was also our 2 year wedding anniversary so we went to a special afternoon tea at The Berkeley Hotel. One of my friends told me about their afternoon tea which is called Pret a Portea and is inspired by the latest fashion designers and their seasonal fashion collections.

London :: Day 1

London :: Day 1

London :: Day 1

We started out with a variety of finger sandwiches and other small snacks. The sandwiches included a chicken salad, salmon, cucumber and a beef option. Since my body was still on Central Time Zone time, my little tummy was grumbling and I happily ate everything in front of me…well almost. There was some relished tuna that I just did not care for along with some chilled beet soup which was not my cup of tea.

London :: Day 1

Then it was time to dig into the deserts! All of them were so adorable that I didn’t want to eat them because they were so pretty! There were cookies made to look like shoes, cakes that were mini purses and parfaits that had the colors of the summer trends. My favorite thing was a mint parfait as well as the sparkly, shoe cookies! I thought this was a really fun way to celebrate our anniversary in proper London fashion. It was also a nice, relaxing way to spend the afternoon after traveling 5,000+ miles.

London :: Day 1

London :: Day 1

After that we headed over to the London Eye. The Eye is really neat to see and photograph from far away, but sadly we weren’t impressed once we got on it. The view from above isn’t much to write home about. And I also freaked out a little bit as we went up and up into the sky because I’m terrified of heights.

London :: Day 1

London :: Day 1

Photo May 26, 7 38 28 PM

London :: Day 1

London :: Day 1

London :: Day 1

London :: Day 1

London :: Day 1

London :: Day 1

London :: Day 1

Since the sun didn’t set in London until after 9pm, we had plenty of time to keep exploring. We just started to walk around and see where the night led us. one placed we stopped was at Fortnum and Mason because I heard they had really good macarons there. My husband and I fell in love with macarons a few years ago while in St. Maarten and we are always on the hunt for the best one to eat. We got a few different macarons to take with us including a blood orange, red velvet (SO GOOD!), brownie, watermelon, mixed berries, white champagne and salted caramel (always our favorite flavor).

London :: Day 1

We ended the night by walking around the Piccadilly Circus area and we ended the night at a pub near our hotel where we dined in true London fashion on fish and chips and Shepherd’s Pie. I love me some fried fish but this Wisconsin girl prefers a good ole Friday Fish Fry to the kind in London.

London :: Day 1