Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dreaming of London: The lost photos from last summer

I have a blog. I think I forgot that fact. But here it is. Sitting sadly in the corner waiting for me to come back and dust it off and write something. Or something like that. Life is a crazy thing sometimes and mine has been just nuts since last summer. But that is something for another post. Which I promise will be soon. 

This afternoon I'm busy procrastinating on an essay I'm supposed to be writing for one of my grad classes. So I thought I'd engage in some "productive" procrastinating (you learn this is a real thing once you get to grad school) and I would do something else that I've been procrastinating on. Last night it was grade 39 essays from my ENG 101 students (I survived!) but this morning, as I was drinking coffee from my London Starbucks mug, I decided I wanted to finally upload pics from the last week of my trip last summer. I did so well for the first two weeks of that trip, but as the last week arrived and I was spending time with Alicia and Alex and enjoy the last bit of my trip, the process of downloading pics from my camera and up to the blog was more time consuming that I wanted to deal with as time in London was running out. But, we did some awesome things and had lots of fun and I think I got some good pictures that I wanted to share with all of you. 

So, take a trip back in time with me. Let's go back to July 2013, to a warm summer's day in London. The last time I posted was from the day I spent at St. Paul's Cathedral and Harrods, in case you missed it you can check it out here. But now we'll start with Kensington Palace, the day after Prince George was born.

I hope you enjoy! :)

Tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace

AMAZING red velvet cake!

View through the window of the Orangery from our table. 

Walking to the palace. I was so excited to see the Fashion Rules exhibition featuring gowns worn by Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, and Princess Diana.


After visiting twice before during the winter it was lovely to see the garden in bloom.

The media was still camped out. Prince George had been born the day before.

I really was in love with the architecture in the City.

Really cool old cemetery near Alicia's new flat.

Love this sign.

Made it to King's Cross Station and Platform 9 3/4. I did not wait in line to get my picture taken pushing the trolly through the wall but took a picture of the people waiting in line. :)

Sunset along the Queens Walk.

Walking around the City one of my favorite things was seeing the blend of architecture. Fragments of the old Roman wall next to buildings from the 18th and 19th century and new buildings from post WWII. So cool.

The Dome of St. Paul's Cathedral as you come up the escalator of the One New Change shopping center.

Another lovely day for a picnic in Fulham.

I've learned that it's not a trip to London without stopping at Poilane Bakery in Belgravia. So good!

Then we stopped at the Baker's Corner. I died and went to pancake heaven. They were at least an inch thick and so delicious. Added to my list of "must do" when in London.

Private garden in Belgravia.


Garden in Hyde Park.


Hi Mr. Squirrel! 

The Italian Garden in Hyde Park.

Since we had seen War Horse earlier in the trip, Alicia wanted to show me the Animals in War Memorial in Hyde Park.

Aston Martin dealership that had a special James Bond display in its windows.

From Waterloo Bridge.



It was such a gorgeous day, this day. And pretty epic too. It started with the trip to Poilane Bakery (which you saw above), then brunch at the Baker's corner. We had taken the tube to Belgravia but then walked from Poilane to Hyde Park, walked all around Hyde Park then to Oxford Street to do some shopping. Then from Oxford Street to Covent Garden for dinner. After dinner Alicia took Alex home but I stayed and did some more shopping and then walked from Covent Garden down to Waterloo Bridge and crossed over to the South Bank by the National Theatre, walked east along the Queens Walk down to the Millennium Bridge and then up past St. Paul's Cathedral, and then finally back to the flat going past the Royal Exchange. That day I logged 30 thousand steps on my FitBit, approximately 13 miles. I had a massive blister on the bottom of my foot but I didn't care because it had been such an epically fun day. :)

After nearly 3 weeks of record temps and sunshine we finally had a rainy day. This desert girl was very happy with the change in weather. And I kept dry under my cheerful umbrella I bought at Boots when it started to rain and I realized I had forgotten the umbrella I had brought with me from the States back at the flat. (After nearly 3 weeks of sun I wasn't in the habit of having it with me!)

Alicia's friend Sara was over for the evening (Alicia had been watching her daughter Lizzy) so I ran out to pick up dinner from Pizza Express and dessert from Patisserie Valerie. Yum!

The next day Alicia, Alex, and I went shopping at Spitalfields Market. This fudge was so tempting, but I resisted since we still had leftover cake from last night.

Tower 42 in the City. By this point I had introduced Alicia to the awesomeness of BBC's Sherlock. When we watched The Blind Baker Alicia immediately recognized this building.

There really are some awesome buildings in the City. It was so fun to get to spend so much time wandering around this part of London.

Still a little cloudy from the day before. But it wouldn't be a trip to London without walking by Big Ben. After Spitalfields we took the Tube to Trafalgar Square and went to the National Portrait Gallery so I could see the official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge (I don't care what people think, I think it's a lovely portrait). Then we walked down Whitehall, past Downing Street and then past Parliament and across Westminster Bridge, down the Queens Walk to the Millennium Bridge and then back home. Lots of walking on this trip!

I love my Canon DSLR and I use it so much when I travel. On this trip I started to notice these red marks on my camera. It took me a bit of time (I blame vacation brain for being so slow to connect this) to realize it was coming from my nail polish! LOL! As you can see from the state of my nails in this shot my polish (Butter London's Pillar Box Red, in case you wanted to know) was chipping and definitely rubbing off on my camera. What can I say, photography is hell on your manicure and it had been a few days since I had touched it up.

Sheba the cat helping me do some work on my computer.

What can I say? I know how to shop. Sorry I'm not sorry. 

Last day! :( Sniffle. And last chance to get a Latte Frappe and Belgian Chocolate Brownie from Caffe Nero. I still dream of those frappes. Starbucks just can't compare to that. (And I love my Starbucks.)

Some of you will remember this from Twitter last summer. I found the TARDIS! Sadly I couldn't find the Doctor, or I would have made him take me back 3 weeks so I could do the vacation all over again!

Thanks for rubbing it in Heathrow! Sigh. But for me, it wasn't goodbye, just see you later.

One last Kinder Egg. I had to eat it on the plane. Wouldn't want to get arrested for bringing it into the US. No, seriously, they're illegal, if I didn't eat it before I landed I would seriously be breaking the law by bringing it into the States. Because reasons. Very, very stupid reasons.

Well hellooooooooo Mr. Armitage! :) Enjoying another pack of Strawbs and watching The Hobbit while catching up on my journal, which had been as badly neglected in the final week as this blog had been. You'll see I had even resorted to writing an outline of the last seven days on a napkin just so I could get them straight for the journal.

All caught up on the journal and enjoying some of the delicious cookies I bought at Poilane during the final hours of the flight. 
One final look at London. This is from the Queens Walk on the South Bank, looking across the River Thames. This is what I think of when I look back at this trip. The Millennium Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral (to the left) and the modern skyscrapers of the City (towards the right). Blue skies and sunsets and lots of walking.

It was such an amazing 3 weeks and so nice to spend so much time with Alicia and my adorable godson Alex. Skype and Facebook are wonderful for staying in touch but nothing is as good as getting to spend 3 weeks with your bestie, hanging around an amazing city like London, and getting to enjoy a nice vacation before life goes crazy again. Two days after arriving home I started a new chapter of my life and it's been quite a ride so far. But that's for another post. For now I'm just going to keep looking through this pictures and remembering the awesome time I had. :) 

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